Future of Dementia Care: A Book Review of Dementia Beyond Drugs

What is it like to see the world from the eyes of a person living with dementia? What does he/she need the most? These are a few of the questions answered in the book Dementia Beyond Drugs by Dr. Allen Power, an internist, geriatrician and Clinical Associate Professor at University of Rochester, New York.

Dr. Power explores our society’s view on aging and how a shift in perspective, seeing it as a transformation rather than deterioration, can improve dementia care. The traditional model of dementia sees the disease as an irreversible loss of all cognitive abilities, suggesting a ‘magic pill’ as the only cure. Now, however, a new model called the Experimental Model is emerging to challenge the old beliefs. This model strives to change the entire environment in which people with dementia live. It emphasizes:

  • patient autonomy rather than protection
  • interactions and relationships rather than tasks
  • self-expression rather than problematic behavior
  • brain plasticity rather than loss of neurons

The key is to retain as much choice and meaning in the lives of people with dementia as we can, so they do not feel institutionalized. Dementia affects all aspects of a person’s life, and we need just as comprehensive a method to treat it.

This is a great read for anyone who works with or cares for a person with dementia. Whether you are a clinician, family member, or simply a friend of someone with dementia, this book gives insight into the scientific evidence supporting a total-person care for dementia, as well as personal stories that touch our hearts.