Nonfiction Review: Touch the Spirit: Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia by Deborah A. Forrest Ph.D

Release Date - June 2013

Deborah A. Forrest Ph.D

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Throughout the world, rates of older adults developing dementia are increasing. Per statistics from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, an estimated 5.1 million Americans could be in one of the stages of Alzheimer's, and 25 percent of those with Alzheimer's are taken care of by a family member. You never know when dementia could impact your life, so education is vital. Dr. Deborah A. Forrest's book, Touch the Spirit, offers guidance into the very difficult journey.

There are aspects with Touch the Spirit that made the book really stand out for me. First, this isn't just a book about Alzheimer's, though that an age-related dementia that often comes to mind when you think of dementia. The book also covers chemotherapy-related dementia, dementia related to open-heart surgery, HIV/AIDS-related dementia, Fronto-temporal Lobe dementia, Huntington's disease, Lewy Bodies disease, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injuries, and vascular dementia.

From there, the book delves into prevention methods that include diet, exercise, and even stress management. You'll also find the different ways you can connect with someone with dementia and how you can help them express themselves. I'd heard of some the ways, such as keeping a journal or painting, but the book also discusses sensory therapies and creating "cuing" environments.

The other things I wanted to note is that there is a rather comprehensive list of additional resources and books to read. Combined with the rest of the content, I believe that Touch the Spirit is important reading for anyone. It's going to be a very helpful guide for those dealing with some form of dementia, but it's also good information to have in mind for the future.


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