’ The author’s lived and professional experience around AD and dementia is the greatest strength of this book. ’
Title: Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia. What Everyone Needs To Know
Author: Steven R Sabat
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book Reviewer: Daisy Chasauka-Maradzika
What was it like?
Reading this book strengthened the belief I have always held that it is paramount for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or dementia to be given the full support necessary to achieve an excellent quality of life. Moreover, as a registered mental health nurse who has cared for adults with a diagnosis of AD or dementia-it is also vital to seek consent when someone still has capacity and the disease has not fully progressed as that impacts on compassionate person-centred care. The book is excellent at emphasising the importance of capturing the voice of the person diagnosed with AD or dementia, capturing their feelings and the necessity of open communication with caregivers. The book is well written and organised into easy to follow chapters that incorporates research, people lived experiences and real-life stories. I believe this book will also resonate with the wider United Kingdom populace.
What were the highlights?
There were several highlights of this book; firstly the need to understand what dementia means; its different types and the understanding of what a diagnosis to the individual and also to the society may mean. Secondly, the importance of taking a biopsychosocial approach to further explore the biological, psychological and social aspects of AD or dementia is thoroughly discussed. Moreover, I could identify with some of the examples the author used to support people diagnosed with AD or dementia such as providing a culture of calm reassurance within families; being a friend to someone with AD including rejecting mass media-perpetuated distortions and negative stereotypes and stigma associated with AD or dementia. Another highlight is that “all behaviours in AD or dementia is communication”; meaning it is crucial for health professionals and caregivers to acknowledge that people with dementia are often in distress and may express that distress in ways other than words.
Each chapter with its subsequent stories continuously took me back to my time as a dementia nurse where I advocated and emphasised the importance of raising awareness, providing education and person-centred care that was not influenced by stigma and stereotype. This is another highlight by the author that there is no one size fits all approach when caring for people diagnosed and excellent quality compassionate care is applied in any care giving environment. Other fantastic highlights included examples of what person-centred care looks like in everyday life, as it is enabling and empowering; thus enriching the emotional well-being of the person diagnosed and their caregiver.
Strengths & weaknesses:
The author’s lived and professional experience around AD and dementia is the greatest strength of this book. The author gives practical tips regarding communication, person-centred care and the importance of adopting among others, a biopsychosocial approach to AD and dementia.
Who should read it?
This book is for anyone who will grow old eventually, healthcare professionals, caregivers and recipients of care- who still have capacity to read and understand.