Based on a program now more than two decades old, The Elderwise Way: A Different Approach to Dementia summarizes the principles and practices of a unique adult day enrichment program that has a spirit-centered approach to working with people with dementia. Based in Seattle, Elderwise is at the forefront of the expansion of our understanding of how to be with those with cognitive loss.
The statement often heard from people--those with dementia as well as their caregivers--after visiting Elderwise is that it feels as if they have entered a space of time out of time. They slow down; they feel safe and welcome, seen and valued. That is how it feels to read this book. One is gently invited to think about dementia differently. The Elderwise Way: A Different Approach to Dementia is filled with compassion and connection, humor and honesty. It reminds us of our own humanity and deep capacity for love.
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