A Handbook of Dementia Care

Edited by Caroline Cantley.
Open University Press
£22.50 (paperback), £65 (hardback)
ISBN 0 335 203383 (paperback), 0 335 203841

Cantley has brought together a galaxy of
stars. Each of the 21 contributors sees the world from his or her
viewpoint. The European parliament gives instantaneous translation
in 11 different languages. Fortunately for me, the book’s glossary
describes more than 250 terms. Sadly, the evolving
bio/psycho/social model of care was not included.

The current confused and counter-productive UK
political position with regards to dementia care is well discussed.
The book is a step on the way towards the development of a sound
knowledge base upon which first-class dementia care can be built.
The achievement of that worthy goal will depend upon educators
simplifying the language of dementia care.

One contributor concludes: “By understanding
concepts like primary and secondary deviance, typification,
taken-for-granted assumptions, ageism and the social construction
of ‘self’ and ‘selves’, care givers can begin to see how they could
change their behaviour to improve the dignity, autonomy and
personhood of people for whom they care.” From Mount Olympus’s
towering top it is a long way down to where mere mortals stand.

Peter H Millard is emeritus professor
of geriatrics, St George’s Hospital Medical School,

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