Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia

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Memory loss can be one of the most terrifying aspects of a diagnosis of dementia. Yet the fear and dread of losing our memory make the experience of the disease worse than it needs to be, according to cultural critic and playwright Anne Davis Basting. She says, Forget memory. Basting emphasizes the importance of activities that focus on the present to improve the lives of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Based on ten years of practice and research in the field, Basting’s study includes specific examples of innovative programs that stimulate growth, humor, and emotional connection; translates into accessible language a wide range of provocative academic works on memory; and addresses how advances in medical research and clinical practice are already pushing radical changes in care for persons with dementia.

Bold, optimistic, and innovative, Basting's cultural critique of dementia care offers a vision for how we can change the way we think about and care for people with memory loss.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review

An outstanding survey for both health and general collections.

Northeast Forum on Spirituality and Aging

The further I read the more impressed I became with Ann Basting's book.

Gerontologist - Kate de Medeiros

Challenges conceptions of what is possible with memory loss... of special importance in Basting's book are the several chapters dedicated to programs that awaken imagination and explor what is possible for people with dementia.

Dementia - Bjorn Moller

Although Forget Memory may at first sight appear to be just another handbook for dementia carers, it defies the usual expectations of this recent literary category. By effectively showing how people with dementia can be stakeholders of their own well-being, Basting both raises the hope of restoring the dignity of this population, and provides caretakers with invaluable guidance of how to creatively improve their efforts... an innovative guidebook for dementia care, and for the understanding of dementia and people with dementia... In some sense Forget Memory is a manifesto for a revolution.

International Psychogeriatrics - Cathy Goodwin

This book challenges the dreaded stigma attached to dementia by advocating news ways of thinking, and illustrates this with successful projects across the U.S.A.

Journal of Dementia and Mental Health - Amy Jenkins

I believe this book is incredibly powerful and valuable... The suggested future movements are very important and realistic, which I believe are imperative to the advancement of care for anyone involved in, or influenced by dementia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801892509
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/18/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 902,081
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Davis Basting is the director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where she is also an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the Peck School of the Arts. Her published works include The Stages of Age and The Arts and Dementia Care: A Resource Guide.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: Dementia Is Hard, but It Needn't Be This Hard 1

Part 1 Understanding Our Fears About Dementia 7

1 What Is (and Isn't) Memory? How a Better Understanding of Memory Might Ease Our Fears about Its Loss 13

2 The Danger of Stories: How Stereotypes and the Stigma of Aging and Dementia Can Hurt Us 25

Part 2 The Stories We Tell about Dementia in Popular Culture 31

3 Memory Loss in the Mainstream: Tightly Told Tragedies of Dementia with Science as Hero 35

4 Tightly Told Tragedies of Dementia: Then versus Now 40

5 Not So Tightly Tragic: Stories That Imagine Something More 46

6 Not Tragic at All: Stories about Memory Loss without the Old 50

7 All of the Above: Denny Crane as the Clown of Dementia 61

Part 3 Moving Through Fear: Stories About Dementia that Inspire Hope 67

8 StoryCorps and the Memory Loss Initiative 71

9 Memory Bridge 80

10 To Whom I May Concern 87

11 Time Slips Creative Storytelling Project 94

12 Songwriting Works 104

13 Dance: "Respect" and "Sea of Heartbreak" 111

14 The Visual Arts 117

15 Duplex Planet: The Art of Conversation 127

16 The Photography of Wing Young Huie 134

17 Autobiographies by People with Dementia 145

Conclusion: How and Why to Move through Our Fears about Dementia 155


A Program Description and Contact Information 169

B Recipes from Chapter 1 176

C Images and Stories of Dementia 178

D Timeline of Stories and Events in the Recent History of Dementia 181

Notes 187

Index 201

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