This just in from Richard Taylor
My name is (still) Richard. I am still here. And, I’m still living with the symptoms of dementia!I’m back, or perhaps it would be more accurate to report that I haven’t left, I’ve always been here, I’ve just been unable to find the time to pull together a newsletter or two or three over the course of the past three months! If you are one of the more than 1,300 folks who wrote me asking after me, I thank you for your concern, and I am deeply touched that even one of you, let alone 1,300+ of you would take the time to find out why I haven’t been sending my newsletters.
And so now, a group of physicians, trying their best no doubt to keep the symptoms of dementia within the medical model, are proposing to call and classify them as major neuro/psychological disorders. Every few years the powers that be in medicine re-think, rediscover, re-phrase, re-write the gold standards of disease labels DSM I, DSM II, DSM III – etc. And for each label they list a series of symptoms that a person must have (sometimes three out of five is good enough to “fit” the label being tattooed across your forehead and into etched on your medical chart).
“As is the case with most of the medical community’s huffing and puffing about mental illness, when it comes to mental disorders there is no consensus of science and research to support their assumptions that what they say is real, what they say is what is going on between someone’s ears is in fact going on, and is amenable to a physician’s and/or pharmacist’s intervention in a let’s slow the progress and/or let’s cure this thing sort of way.”
This just in from Peter Whitehouse, M.D.
“It is with genuine regret, but no surprise” is how Peter Whithouse, M.D. reported the failure of the Russian Antihistime drug Dimebon to prove that it slows and/or reverses the progression of the symptoms of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
It gives me no pleasure to continually comment on news of this or that much hyped alzheimer’s cure/slow down the progression pill has failed in this or that study. But the fact is so many other folks seem to take pleasure in annoucing breakthroughs promsiing results, light at the end of the tunnel -some ones are left with the task of saying almost on a monthly basis “not so fast, please. You are creating, supporting, suggesting, encouraging false hopes in the minds and hearts of people with dementia and their care givers, all of whom (myself included) are so hungry for hope.”
I can’t stop others from exagerating the results and the implications of results, but I do feel obligated to as best I can hold up my “not so fast” sign amost every day.
This just in about our own Al Power M.D.
Al Power has authored a book that fills an enormous gap in our understanding of how we, as individual caregivers and as a society, can improve the care for those with dementia. Written with his characteristic directness, warmth, and compassion, these pages are filled with new insights and clues as to how to avoid dangerous drug therapy and restore dignity and comfort to these individuals. This book will be a landmark in geriatrics and has something of value to family caregivers and seasoned physicians as well. –William J. Hall, MD, Paul Fine Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Healthy Aging, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY
Using story after powerful story to reveal the shortcomings of a biomedical approach to care, Dr. Power has helped us open our eyes to a new way of viewing those living with dementia. We have created worlds where our elders with dementia do not want to be, then medicated them to keep them there. Dr. Power’s ‘Experiential Model’…challenges care providers to not only open their eyes, but to also see the beauty and potential of the human spirit that remains. Our elders living with dementia are our greatest teachers and Dr. Power has been an exceptional student. He has learned their lessons well and, in this important book, now shares them with us. I hope we are ready and willing to learn. –Nancy A. Fox, Chief Life Enhancement Officer, Pinon Management
Dementia Beyond Drugs has just stripped you of your last excuse for not understanding what it takes to bring about real culture change within residential care settings while at the same time reducing the administration of psychotropic drugs…If you want to implement the information that Al suggests, you can be the person you’ve always wanted to be when assisting others living with dementia. He’s one of the best guides out there on the pathway to understanding care that treats individuals with dementia with the personal attention, respect, and dignity they deserve. –Carol Ende, Executive Director, Eden Alternative
Allen Power is my kind of physician – one who understands the research and who has a big heart. Drawing on years of experience, he presents a compelling case for eliminating the vast majority of antipsychotic medications used to treat unpleasant symptoms of dementia. Family members and caregivers will embrace his compassionate, relationship-based approach. Dementia Beyond Drugs should be required reading for every long-term care provider. –Beth Baker, Journalist and Author of Old Age in a New Age – The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes
Do you have questions for any of these people? If you do sent them in and we will get answers.