There are books that change our lives, and there are books that can help us in difficult moments, like when we are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or if we have a person we love with this illness. “I’m still here”, by John Zeisel, is one of these books that help and inspire…
Written by a Ph.D., president and co-founder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, this book is very inspiring because it offers a different point of view about Alzheimer’s and dementia in general. Dr. Zeisel’s shows the possibility and benefits of connecting with an Alzheimer’s patient through their abilities that don’t diminish with time. Even with Alzheimer’s, people can understand music, art, facial expressions, and touch. By harnessing these capacities, and by using other techniques, it’s possible to offer the person a quality life with connection to others and to the world.
“The person is there. The person knows she’s there. It is up to others to remember and recognize this always. As the disease progresses, other people are the keepers of that person’s personhood. Those who overlook this contribute directly to the person’s anxiety, agitation, aggression and apathy. Acknowledging the person by words and actions reduces these symptoms.”
John Zeisel has a foundation with the same name of the book, where he develops and evaluates innovative non-pharmacological approaches for people with cognitive challenges. They’ve been more than a decade focusing on creating and implementing inclusive, community-based arts and culture programming.
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