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Forget Memory

, 224 pages

19 halftones

May 2009



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Forget Memory

Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia

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.

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.

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

"An outstanding survey for both health and general collections."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

" 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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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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