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From The CriticsReviewer: Jeannine Marie Forrest, Ph.D., R.N. (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing)
Description: This book provides insight and opportunity to explore artistic and person centered ways to communicate with individuals with dementia. Within the realms of art, dance and music, the author invites readers to refocus their interactions from problematic behavioral concerns to the "residual strengths" of the individual.
Purpose: According to the author, this guide provides a blueprint of what can be achieved by qualified therapists while at the same time offering windows of insight into what can be achieved by the non-therapist who wishes to experiment with the activities of art, dance and music. Furthermore, the author continues to write that no matter the level of cognitive impairment, the person with dementia can have a "good quality of life." The initial objective is worthwhile by offering creative ways to reach the remaining core of the individual with deteriorating cognitive abilities. This objective is met by giving concrete examples of how to implement this person-centered approach that contains an existential and spiritual framework. However, the author overreaches the boundaries by making a blanket assumption that a "good quality of life" can be achieved through these particular therapeutic modalities.
Audience: Intended for therapists and non-therapists, this book is specifically useful for pracititioners and students of art, music, dance therapy as well as occupational therapy, recreational therapy, nurses and family caregivers. The authors appear to have particular experience and expertise the fields of Healing Arts Therapies and dementia care.
Features: The book presents underlying principles of person-centered care as they relate specifically to art, dance, and music therapy. Each topic provides examples of how to carry out these principles for the therapist and caregiver. Illustrations of artwork produced by persons with dementia powerfully relate how these methods can be a vehicle to communicate thoughts and emotion. A table at the end of the book offers a quick reference that comprehensively presents each therapeutic modality with examples of various exercises and their underlying person-centered principles. The book offers sufficient information to enlighten the reader at all levels. It could be strengthened by adding more images and illustrations.
Assessment: Within the area of dementia care, this book moves away from traditional concerns about behavioral problems and offers the reader positive and encouraging methods that can access the "residual strengths" of the person with dementia. In texts like Handbook of Dementia Care, by Stehman et al. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), the focus is on pathology, physical care, and activities for the sake of activity. This book looks at activity as a way to communicate on a meaningful level.