Reading about dementia can be hard and frightening. While there is more understanding and information available than ever before, it is easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged. One of the core takeaways from many of the books is the belief that when someone is diagnosed with dementia, they are no longer "there"—instead, they are lost to those who know and love them, no longer accessible or knowable. One reads and grieves.
Reading "The Elderwise Way: A Different Approach to Dementia" has a different effect. It opens the heart and mind to the awareness that cognitive losses do not eradicate the essence of a person. It opens the reader to the possibility that someone with memory loss can still expand in ways of the heart. Though relationships will change, they can still be meaningful and loving. Through stories and concepts, it illuminates approaches that can provide opportunities for persons with memory loss to become more joyful, more tolerant and more loving.
This book offers ways for anyone, whether in personal or professional relationship with someone with memory loss, to open their hearts and minds to new possibilities. It does not minimize the loss and necessary adjustment required by all involved. It does, however, offer concrete examples of how to adapt and enjoy the relationship in its present form. It provides opportunities for growth, for both the person with memory loss and the care partner.
Filled with compassion and connection, humor and honesty, "The Elderwise Way: A Different Approach to Dementia" reminds us of our own humanity and deep capacity for love.