I thought it raised some crucial points. Of course, biologically, Alzheimer’s exists and that isn’t the issue that is being made, but the book seems to try to approach the onset and development of Alzheimer’s from a different angle.
Rather than focusing on the scientific search for a cure, they emphasis the need to look at ways in which the development of Alzheimer’s can be managed within a sociological, cultural and community framework.
One of the authors, Dr Whitehouse, states
‘Instead of asking ourselves, “What drug should I prescribe”? we should be asking, “How can I help my patient stay alive, enjoy a good quality of life and remain engaged in society”? We have medicalized aging to an extreme degree.’
Image via Wikipedia (donezipil)
It seems like they are carrying out a lot of studies related to how older people with Alzheimer’s interact and what kind of interactions benefit them and in what ways.
I have to say, it was a heartening and inspiring interview and I thought it was a key approach to take as often we work, within our service, in a psycho-social model but sometimes it feels that we are battling against a tide of medication (which, don’t get me wrong, has its place but not by any means exclusively).
I sometimes feel frustrated that age has so many negative connotations in our society. It is not seen necessarily as a part of the life as a whole or the aged, confused individual as a part of who they were, are and will be.
Daniel George, the other author, writes
‘We are all going to grow older. We are all going to die. That may sound somewhat negative, but it is reality, and it carries a message of hope. No matter what we do, we can’t fix all the problems of aging. But we can foster a sense of solidarity. We are all in this boat together. And we can’t throw anyone overboard just because they’re unfortunate enough to be labeled with a mental illness such as AD.’
In a society that sometimes seems to eager to throw those that don’t fit the ‘model’, overboard, it is good to see the work being done.
Dr Whitehouse and Mr George continue to update their blog in relation to their research and ongoing methods. I’ve found it useful to keep track of.