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Finding Meaning in the Experience of Dementia: The Place of Spiritual Reminiscence Work
MacKinlay, Elizabeth
Jessica Kingsley / Softcover / 2012-08-01 / 1849052484
price: $40.95 (may be subject to change)
272 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

This groundbreaking book is based on the findings of the first major study on spiritual reminiscence work with people with dementia. Carried out over a decade, the study confirmed spiritual reminiscence to be an effective means of helping people with dementia to find meaning in their own experience, and interact in meaningful ways with others.

The authors present the evidence for the efficacy of spiritual reminiscence with this group, and drawing on examples demonstrate its many benefits, as revealed by the study, including the affirmation of identity and worth whilst promoting resilience and transcendence; reducing levels of depression; and giving people with dementia a voice with which to express grief, despair, joy, wisdom, insight and humour. Specific practice issues are addressed, including how to maximise communication and nurture connections during sessions; the role of symbol, ritual and liturgy and how to design an effective spiritual reminiscence program. Transcripts of sessions are included throughout the book as examples, providing unprecedented insight into how people with dementia experience spiritual reminiscence, and encouraging reflective practice. The book closes with a set of suggested questions and discussion topics which can be used as the basis of a six week program.

Providing theory and the latest research as well as a wealth of practical information and examples to guide practice, this book will be of interest to dementia care practitioners and activity coordinators, pastoral carers, aged care chaplains, practical theologians, students, academics and researchers.


"This vibrant account draws us into dialogue with the lively voices of people with dementia, inviting us to make connections with their humour, their hopes and their fears. Rather than theories about dementia, the authors prompt us to engage with the person, carrying their stories. The authors take us to the heart of dementia care: our common humanity."

- Associate Professor Rosalie Hudson, Charles Sturt University

“The authors' understanding of 'spiritual reminiscence' makes a further and significant advance in person-centred care. The verbatim reports of group work on finding meaning in life will be startlingly revealing to those who may think that people with dementia are little more than 'non-persons' incapable of any personal growth. The book sounds a clarion call to care providers to be willing to take the next step in changing the culture of care for the better. To effect this a practicable strategy and detailed programme are offered."

- Albert Jewell, retired Methodist minister


Preface. Acknowledgements. Part I: Building the Evidence for Spiritual Reminiscence: Research and Theory. 1. An Introduction to Spiritual Reminiscence. 2. Current Understandings of Dementia and Implications for Care. 3. Investigating Spiritual Reminiscence. Part II: Listening to Those with Dementia: The Findings. 4. Autonomy and the Older Person with Dementia. 5. Resilience and Transcendence. 6. 'You've Got to Laugh!' 7. Wisdom and Insight. 8. People with Dementia in Multicultural Settings. 9. Hope and Despair Among Those with Dementia. 10. Grief is Part of Life. 11. A Theology of Dementia - Elizabeth MacKinlay. Part III: Practice of Spiritual Reminiscence. 12. Maximising Effective Communication. 13. Making Connections. 14. Ritual, Symbol and Liturgy. 15. Designing a Program for Finding Meaning and People with Dementia. 16. Changing Attitudes and Empowering People with Dementia. Appendix I: Group Topics for Spiritual Reminiscence. Appendix II: Mini Mental State Examination Scores for Participants. References. Index.

About the Authors:

Corinne Trevitt is a registered nurse and Academic Associate Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies in the School of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Australia. Corinne has worked in Australia and the United Kingdom and has a background in nursing, research and teaching with an emphasis on issues of ageing. Corinne has published in the areas of spirituality for older adults with dementia and clinical teaching strategies.

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