Therapeutic Activities with Persons Disabled by Alzheimer's Disease and Related Diseases Carol Bowlby; Gaithersburg, Maryland: Aspen, 1 993, 432 pages, $85.00, loose-leaf.
In loose-leaf notebook format, this publication lends itself to practical day-today usage in any care setting involving demented persons. Such a manual enables the user to add articles and materials at relevant points. The author is an occupational therapist with personal and professional experience in assessment and management of elderly individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD).
The book opens with a strong foundation of normal aging processes and the pathology and characteristics of dementia. The followup chapter deals with the specific communication approaches necessary to relate to limited functioning elders. Another chapter on group work, based upon theoretical models and therapeutic interventions, briefly introduces a number of approaches.
The major emphases of the book are therapeutic group activities, sensory stimulation, and reminiscence groups. In addition, special activities, such as ipes, horticulture, and iwork are presented in more detail as appendices. Materials and methods are available for those interested in further background for a particular area. A rather diverse bibliography and a suggested reading list provides additional references. Specific resources highlight the chapters at pertinent points.
A final chapter deals with the administrative and budgetary concerns of funding group services to demented populations. The differing positions of health care services in both Canada and the United States are considered.
The strengths of this publication are that it is strongly research based throughout, and it has a generally strong emphasis upon assessment criteria. Block print illustrations spruce up the volume, while a variety of print faces make the text visually attractive. The level of content is quite readable at an educated lay level. Areas which would have rounded out the book more fully are consideration of ethical issues involved in therapeutic activities for demented elders, and the area of family involvement. Family members often can be utilized as capable and willing volunteers in supplementing a program outlined by a professional caregiver.
Overall this is a publication which is highly readable, and extremely useful for caregivers of the demented elderly, with plenty of hands-on material to implement in a variety of settings.