Sponosored Book Review: TOUCH THE SPIRIT, Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia

I am so pleased to have my mom, Judy from Retired-Not-Tired, reviewing this book for Acting Balanced today.  As soon as I saw the email for this book, I knew that she'd be the perfect person to share her insights into Touch the Spirit: Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia

From the Publisher:

More than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and, yet, many of us don’t know how to react, let alone help, when this disease strikes our loved ones.

In Touch the Spirit: Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia, Dr. Deborah Forrest peels away the stereotypes and assumptions in order to explore and explain how we, the families, can offer and provide means of comfort, and, most importantly, human and mental contact with our loved ones afflicted with dementia.

Through entertaining and enlightening stories of hope and success, Dr. Forrest reminds us how the most simple acts, such as poetry, art, animals, and music, can open a channel of connection with those lost to time and reconnect with their souls. In addition, Touch The Spirit covers the research and progress being made toward dementia prevention, because, an informed person is a prepared person. We must understand what medicines are effective, and how spirituality can play a major role in providing relief and comfort to all concerned.

Touch The Spirit is also about the caregivers, the families, and Dr. Forrest offers informative ways to combat the inevitable stress we suffer, as well as means to improve our health and enrich our spirits. We can’t care for those who need us if we aren’t physically and mentally capable of being there for them. This book is much more than a professional overview of dementia; it is about restoring humanity and uplifting the bond that exists between human beings. It is about life, family, and most of all…love.

Reviewer's Comments:

I chose to read and review this book for personal reasons. My father has Alzheimer's and I wanted a way to connect with him. I wanted to learn as much as possible about this dreadful disease. I also want to try and avoid it myself.  I was a little intimidated when I opened the package and found a book that looked like it might be a textbook, but I found the book to be very easy to read. In fact I finished in one day. 

Deborah tells the story in a matter of fact way. I actually thought she was talking to me and sharing her words of wisdom. It did not read like a text book at all. I think by sharing some of the examples of other people as well as her own experiences brought the whole subject to a more personal level. I feel I am more knowledgeable and less unsure of the disease. It was interesting to note that we have been using a lot of her suggested methods with my father already. I have told my mother who is my father's primary care-giver about the book and she is anxious to read it as well. Hopefully she will share this book with the staff at the retirement home where she resides.

This book left me with a confidence that my Dad is doing well in spite of his disease. Even you do not have a brain injury the way of life suggested is encouraging and I hope I will be able to avoid the odds of getting any form of dementia.

While I focused on reading this book through the lens of being the child of an individual with Dementia, specifically Alzheimer's, I think that this book would be a good read for anyone who has a connection to dementia of any sort and this book also talked about Parkinson's disease, Huntington's Disease and other forms of brain injury.  I know that it has made me want to find a copy of Dr. Forrest's first book, Symphony of Strings: An Overture to Dementia's Soulful Memories 

About the Author:

Dr. Deborah Forrest holds degrees in Nursing from St. Mary’s Hospital Nursing School, Knoxville, TN (RN); Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA (BSN); and The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA (MSN) and degrees in Clinical Psychology from The Fielding Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA (MA & PhD). She has worked as a Peri-Operative Educator and Manager in several academic medical centers in the Southeast; as a Nursing Director in a Texas psychiatric hospital; and as a Biomedical Researcher and Clinical Affairs Consultant to several Fortune 100 Corporations.

In 1990, shortly after her return to graduate school for her doctorate in clinical psychology, Dr. Forrest began an association with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. That association led to her dissertation research project with Dr. Kubler-Ross’s final grief workshops before her retirement. Immediately following the completion of her doctoral degree program, Dr. Forrest completed a one year a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center & Sander’s Brown Center on Aging where she continued to expand her knowledge of gerontology and the diseases of aging. She has published extensively in professional and technical journals in various fields of medicine and health, and has taught and lectured in her fields of specialization – aging, dementia and spirituality, bereavement and bone marrow cancer. Since 1987 she has been repeatedly listed among the Who’s Who in Professional & Executive Women.