Treat them like a person, not a patient
New living systems developmental model of care shifts the focus of treating Alzheimer’s disease and other debilitating illnesses
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Donald H. Ford observed that advanced Alzheimer’s patients, like his mother-in-law, are typically bored and lonely, and often depressed, frightened or angry. His professional knowledge convinced him it didn’t have to be that way. When Alzheimer’s struck his wife, he created a scientifically based alternative form of Alzheimer’s care that enabled her to still have a satisfying life.
Ford shares this revolutionary plan he used with his wife, Carol in the new book Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey: Treat Them Like a Person, Not a Patient. He is an experienced psychology professional and developed a living systems developmental model for care that incorporates an individual’s humanity. It helps patients live a meaningful and pleasurable life, despite their limitations. Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey is a guide for caregivers of senior citizens with serious limitations to improve their care receivers’ quality of life.
“Traditional medical model caregiving focuses on what’s wrong with a person and tries to fix it. However, when what is wrong can’t be fixed, the caregiver can’t succeed and that’s discouraging,” Ford says. “In Our developmental model of care, the focus is on what the person can still do and on designing experiences from which they get satisfaction.”
As people continue to gain more awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other seriously debilitating diseases, plans like the model in Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey become more relevant. Based on his professional research, Ford believes that a person always functions as an integrated unit, so a model was needed that combined the biological, psychological, behavioral, social and contextual aspects of a person’s patterns of behavior when planning for elder care. Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey asks society to adopt the view that it is not enough to focus on keeping senior citizens alive and “warehousing them” until they die.
Ford’s plan in Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey is a person-centered quality of care focus. It replaces the traditional medical emphasis on what is wrong with the person with a positive emphasis on using their remaining capabilities to create a satisfying life, despite limitations.
Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey: Treat Them Like a Person, Not a Patient
By Donald H. Ford
ISBN: 978-1-3008-0321-8 (sc); 978-1-3009-9178-6 (e)
Approximately 564 pages
Available at www.LuLu.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.
About the author
Donald H. Ford earned a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and doctorate degrees in mathematics and psychology from KansasState and PennsylvaniaStateUniversities. He spent the first 10 years of his career creating a new kind of psychological and developmental services program at PennState for students and their families. Then PennState asked him to create a new kind of college called Health and Human Development. It stimulated other universities to develop similar colleges. After 10 years as Dean, he resigned and returned to his first love of teaching, scholarly and professional work. He published seven books about psychotherapy and human development.