Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia

Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia

by Anne Basting

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801892509
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 07/01/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Dementia Is Hard, but It Needn't Be This Hard
Part One: Understanding Our Fears about Dementia
1. What Is (and Isn't) Memory? How a Better Understanding of Memory Might Ease Our Fears about Its Loss
2. The Danger of Stories: How Stereotypes and the Stigma of Aging and Dementia Can Hurt Us
Part Two: The Stories We Tell About Dementia in Popular Culture
3. Memory Loss in the Mainstream: Tightly Told Tragedies of Dementia with Science as Hero
4. Tightly Told Tragedies of Dementia: Then versus Now
5. Not So Tightly Tragic: Stories That Imagine Something More
6. Not Tragic at All: Stories about Memory Loss without the Old
7. All of the Above: Denny Crane as the Clown of Dementia
Part Three: Moving Through Fear: Stories about Dementia that Inspire Hope
8. StoryCorps and the Memory Loss Initiative
9. Memory Bridge
10. To Whom I May Concern
11. TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project
12. Songwriting Works
13. Dance: "Respect" and "Sea of Heartbreak"
14. The Visual Arts
15. Duplex Planet: The Art of Conversation
16. The Photography of Wing Young Huie
17. Autobiographies by People with Dementia
Conclusion: How and Why to Move through Our Fears about Dementia
Appendixes
A. Program Description and Contact Information
B. Recipes from Chapter 1
C. Images and Stories of Dementia
D. Timeline of Stories and Events in the Recent History of Dementia
Notes
Index

What People are Saying About This

"A powerful and provocative challenge to our culture's one-dimensional view of dementia as an unmitigated tragedy, Forget Memory rejects the stigma of memory loss and offers us—as individuals and as a society—a deeply humane lifeline in the form of practical hope. Writing with grace and unpretentiousness, Basting insists on the persistence of creativity as memory diminishes, on the importance of the arts for expressing individuality, and on the key role to be played by a new generation of dementia activists."

Michael Bérubé

Forget Memory is truly a memorable book. From its readings of films like Away from Her and Finding Nemo to its moving accounts of art, music, and dance programs for people with dementia, Forget Memory offers us a vision of a more humane world—and a better future for aging people of all ages.

Michael Bérubé, The Pennsylvania State University

Kathleen Woodward

A powerful and provocative challenge to our culture's one-dimensional view of dementia as an unmitigated tragedy, Forget Memory rejects the stigma of memory loss and offers us—as individuals and as a society—a deeply humane lifeline in the form of practical hope. Writing with grace and unpretentiousness, Basting insists on the persistence of creativity as memory diminishes, on the importance of the arts for expressing individuality, and on the key role to be played by a new generation of dementia activists.

Kathleen Woodward, editor of Figuring Age: Women, Bodies, Generations

David Shenk

With her big ideas and sharp criticism, Anne Basting is a vital part of the Alzheimer's community. I don't always agree with her, but I'm sure glad she's a part of this important conversation.

David Shenk, author of The Forgetting

Elinor Fuchs

Anne Basting's Forget Memory brings a lighthearted spirit of hope, love, creativity, and even fun to the culture of fear surrounding memory loss. It should be an essential guide to all families, caregivers, and patients seeking a humane response to the diagnosis of dementia.

Elinor Fuchs, author of Making an Exit: A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter

Peter V. Rabins

A unique work. This wide-ranging critique of the current approach to the care of persons with dementia and memory impairment provides a much-needed prescription for change.

Peter V. Rabins, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, coauthor of The 36-Hour Day

Peter J. Whitehouse

One of the most creative scholars in the area of dementia practice reminds in an unforgettable way that memory is more than we think and also less.

Peter J. Whitehouse, Case Western Reserve University, coauthor of The Myth of Alzheimer's

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