Works of Love Newsletter
How Caregivers Can Meet the Challenges of Alzheimer's Disease
Feel free to chime in for Dr. Post's plenary address on Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People at the Duke University Center for Spirituality and Health with Dr. Harold Koenig, MD.
New Book From The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Reviews of the Book
For many years I heard enthusiastic affirmations of ethicist Stephen G. Post's work with the Alzheimer's community nationally and in clinical settings from my close friend and fellow neurologist Dr. Joseph Michael Foley, especially upon Joe's visits to Harvard Medical School, his alma mater, where I served as Dean. In this serious and also uplifting book we can feel Post's passion for the "dignity of deeply forgetful people," learn to notice and appreciate their expressions of continuing self-identity, and include them in our moral vision of a shared humanity worthy of equal respect and care. He celebrates caregivers as our highest moral exemplars whose efforts need to be better supported. Drawing from years of case experience, Post offers answers to the big ethical questions that Alzheimer's presents in a writing style that easily engages families, caregivers, and clinicians. Of even greater significance, Post challenges us all to set aside "hypercognitive biases" and learn from these "differently abled" people as we come to see them anew. Post's book is a fitting tribute to Dr. Foley, who was my mentor as a neurology resident at University Hospitals of Cleveland, and to a whole generation of aspiring neurologists.
-- Dr. Joseph B. Martin MD, Dean Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
As a son who experienced up close the painful yet precious course of Alzheimer's over two decades I wish I had had the benefit of Dr Post's book at hand. In this most enlightening study of the mystery of human dignity and identity under siege, he lifts the veil on that dreaded disease and provides insights, explanations, and hope for retaining the connections that count. Those unexpected, seemingly miraculous glimmers of the beloved as 'through a glass darkly' are here illumined both scientifically and spiritually as we confront our ultimate humanity--and human potential--face to face.
-- Charles Scribner III, author and art historian
Dr. Stephen G. Post brings to this book his tremendous compassion and understanding for the persons he calls "deeply forgetful," placing them on the same spectrum with all of us. The great humanity of his approach makes for a deeply richer, resilient and nurturing community for us all. A must read!
-- Gayatri Devi, M.D., author of The Spectrum of Hope: An Optimistic and New Approach to Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, Director, New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services
I am pleased to see that the noted author Dr. Stephen G. Post is addressing themes such as consciousness and interconnectedness in his new book, which will contribute to the flourishing of humanity.
-- From His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The best summary of medical ethical issues in Alzheimer's disease from diagnosis to the end stage yet produced by anyone. Completely readable for caregivers and professionals. Based on 30 years of devoted work with caregivers and individuals with dementia, Stephen G. Post is recognized worldwide as the foremost medical humanist and ethicist writing on this vitally important topic. His wonderfully written "Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People" awakens us to the continuing underlying selfhood of these "differently abled" people, and helps us all to affirm their inalienable dignity.
-- Harold G. Koenig, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Director, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
Dr. Stephen G. Post has greatly influenced Japanese care for deeply forgetful people from daily living to the use of feeding tubes, and he has inspired us to deliberate more about "dignity" "autonomy" "identity" "authenticity." As an extraordinary and impactful key note speaker at our annual meetings of the Japan Association for Clinical Ethics, he has greatly influenced clinical ethical thinking in Japan about issues pertaining to the final stage, especially in helping us to realize that death with dignity does not require artificial nutrition and hydration.
-- Dr. Masako Minooka, MD, author of Ethics of Dementia Care in Japan, Executive Director, Japan Association for Clinical Ethics
Stephen Post writes tenderly, lovingly, and wisely about those among us with failing mental faculties. His message reflects the view that we are conscious in spite of what our brain may be doing, and that it is human consciousness that is fundamental to our dignity, even if our cognitive strengths have weakened. The surprising moments of 'paradoxical lucidity' that caregivers often observe and describe teach us never to assert that the person is not still there underneath the communicative losses. The ultimate nature of mind remains a mystery, consistent with emerging neuroscience, as Post shows. This is a breakthrough book, innovative, humane, inclusive, and uniquely significant. In addition, Post thoughtfully probes every imaginable practical ethical question that a caregiver might have based on his three decades of ethics consultation with families. This is one book that every caregiver and professional should read.
-- Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
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