In addition to the books listed below, Dr. Deborah Forrest has written a number of scholarly articles.
To view a list of these articles, please visit her other publications page.
Touch the Spirit by Deborah Forrest, Ph.D.
Dementia is a constellation of symptoms associated with different brain conditions. In this book, a psychologist shows simple ways to reach a person with dementia via the heart and spirit. The constellation of symptoms associated with dementia confront many individuals afflicted with medical conditions like strokes, Alzheimer’s, brain trauma, cancer and AIDS. While such conditions will afflict brain tissue differently, they leave the human spirit untouched. In this book Dr. Deborah Forrest, a psychologist and registered nurse, shows how the use of things like music, art, and poetry can open a channel of communication to the soul of a person with dementia.
Ultimately, Touch the Spirit: Connecting to the Inner World of Dementia is for any person at risk of developing a brain condition that produces dementia, caregivers, family, friends and colleagues. Understanding that a living entity or spirit remains alive inside the person with symptoms of dementia is the key to realizing that a connection to that person is possible. This book offers concrete approaches to establishing and maintaining open lines of communication over the course of any brain condition that creates dementia symptoms.
Drawing on the latest research in aging, spirituality and medicine, Dr. Forrest explains what dementia is and what it is not. She provides an overview of the basic workings of the ten most common brain conditions that create dementia symptoms. She discusses the state of the field when it comes to leading prevention strategies and is honest about their limitations. Finally, she addresses the impact of severe stressors on caregivers of persons with dementia. She offers caregivers practical methods for lowering their stress levels in order to sustain their own mind, body and soul during the caregiving years.
Professional and humane, this book is ultimately uplifting. Touch the Spirit describes the spiritual bond between two human beings that exists beyond any brain condition with dementia. For anyone with a loved one who has dementia symptoms, Forrest’s book offers much needed advice, comfort and support.
Praise for Touch The Spirit
Hannah Reimann Innovations, Inc, In Praise of Deborah Forrest
I became acquainted with Deborah Forrest’s work in December 2014, about four months before my father died from Alzheimer’s-related dementia. I was my dad’s only local relative and cared for him every week for over 7 years. I had become increasingly isolated from people outside my family and had begun to feel lost as his death approached. Deborah’s books reached me on a deep level, especially Symphony of Spirits, which I found to be courageous, educational and visionary at once. Reading them helped me very much through the passage of Dad’s death and the troubling months that led up to it. Both books taught me about many things I did not yet know about the disease my father had and helped me care for him and prepare for his passing. They certainly helped alleviate any fear of death I had.
For all of this I will always thank Deborah and would recommend her to anyone who is a caregiver or family member struggling with these issues and any related ones. Had I known her earlier on, I’m sure my loneliness and the high level of stress I experienced would have decreased much sooner. She is not only an expert on death, but one who understands dementia and caregiving from a first-hand, heartfelt perspective of many, many years and extensive experience.
Deborah has also advised me in my ongoing film project which documents my experience with Dad, “My Father’s House.”
My team and I are in the process of creating a broadcast-length feature film. Meanwhile, a short version can be viewed at http://livingwithalz.org/user_submitted_film/my-fathers-house/
Linda Blazina, Ph.D, co-author of “The Psychopathology of Dementia” in Handbook of Dementing Illnesses
Dr. Forrest has provided a much needed book for both caregivers and professionals who are dealing with the many facets of dementias. She speaks to the very important issue of the spiritual aspects of dementing illnesses, an aspect that is too often overlooked.
Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Power of Premonitions and The One Mind
“Inspiring, clearly written and authoritative, this book is highly recommended.”
Catherine Oxenburg, Actress & CEO of Holy Cow Productions
“Touch the Spirit is the most comprehensive, ground-breaking book on dementia I have ever read. I lost my father two years ago to the disease. When I read “the gift of profound dementia, is that nothing said to the person will be registered in that person’s physical memory bank but it will be remembered in the soul’s registry of life events”, I felt like it was a message from my father telling me that no moment had been wasted. ”
David Morris, M.D., Board Certified Family Practice physician and Credentialed HIV specialist, American Academy of HIV Medicine
“I feel this is Deborah’s best book yet. It adds a seasoned and creative voice to the fields of medicine, nursing, the caring professions, clinical psychology and an understanding dementia. Deborah has an intense world to impart, and she brings it to us with sensitivity, imagination, and power. There is a generous amount of wit, joy, whimsy, attention to detail and instruction. She displays knowledge of the metaphysical heart that extends far beyond its physical dimensions. She expresses her wisdom with scientific clarity and a gift for memorable language.”
Symphony of Spirits: Encounters With the Spiritual Dimensions of Alzheimer’s
by Deborah Forrest, Ph.D. with Clint Richmond
In this provocative first-person account, Dr. Deborah Forrest shares her experiences caring for seven remarkable patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. By acknowledging the rich spiritual dimension of these unique patients and illuminating their extraordinary yet often overlooked worth, Dr. Forrest makes a powerful case for the recognition and acceptance of spirituality as a critical element in the day-to-day treatment of elderly demented patients. A compassionate and thoughtful work, Symphony of Spirits offers a message of inspiration and hope.
Praise for Symphony of Spirits
John Bayley, author of Elegy for Iris and Iris and Her Friends
A fascinating book – the first to explore what might be termed the metaphysics of dementia….Deborah Forrest has compiled with Clint Richmond a marvelous record of Alzheimer’s and its spiritual and physical travails and pilgrimages. The book wholly absorbing and should instantly be read by anyone who knows an Alzheimer’s patient. But all thoughtful readers will also want to explore this touching, intellectually penetrating and strangely heartwarming book.
Lillee Gelinas, Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer, VHA Inc. , Irving, Texas
“A symphony of words….Symphony of Spirits inspired me to begin to think with my heart, and not just my head: [it reminds us] that the true journey for us in life is the one that connects the head and the heart.”