James E. Birren is currently Associate Director of the Center on Aging at the University of California, Los Angeles, and serves as an adjunct professor in medicine, psychiatry, and biobehavioral sciences. He is also professor emeritus of gerontology and psychology at the University of Southern California. Dr. Birren's previous postions include service as Chief of the section on aging of the National Institute of Mental Health, founding Executive Director and Dean of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center of USC, founding Director of the Anna and Harry Borun Center for Gerontological Research at UCLA, and President of the Gerontological Society of America, the Western Gerontological Society, and the Division on Adult Development and Aging of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Birren's many awards include the Brookdale Foundation Award for Gerontological Research, the Sandoz prize for Gerontological Research, and the award for outstanding contribution to gerontology by the Canadian Association of Gerontology. Author of over 250 scholarly publications, Dr. Birren has research interests including how speed of behavior changes with age, the causes and consequences of slowed information processing in the older nervous system, the effect of age on decision-making processes, and the role of expertise in skilled occupations. He has served as a delegate to several White House Conferences on Aging and continues to have a strong interest in developing national priorities for research and education related to issues of aging.
Many older adults, the authors explain, have limited social networks. Widowhood, retirement, and other "involuntary transitions" create a loss of roles, which can damage the older adult's sense of identity and self-worth. Guided autobiography can be used very effectively with such persons—to promote their general well- being, develop friendships, and create increased feelings of self-sufficiency.
The book's chapters treat such topics as eliciting themes from people's lives, promoting creative thinking, facilitating group interaction, and mastering obstacles in the group process. Based on the authors' fourteen years of experience leading groups in guided autobiography, this book will be of special interest to gerontologists, psychologists, social workers, and other professionals who conduct activity programs for older people.
Featuring useful takeaway messages and informed by recent research into the causes of and the search for therapies to prevent or cure dementia, this edition includes new information on
• devices to make life simpler and safer for people who have dementia• strategies for delaying behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms• changes in Medicare and other health care insurance laws• palliative care, hospice care, durable power of attorney, and guardianship• dementia due to traumatic brain injury• choosing a residential care facility• support groups for caregivers, friends, and family members
The central idea underlying the book—that much can be done to improve the lives of people with dementia and of those caring for them—remains the same. The 36-Hour Day is the definitive dementia care guide.-- Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD, Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health