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Attachment, dementia and Social Work

A Critical evaluation of attachment theory when working with elderly people with a diagnosis
of dementia


This essay focuses on how using attachment theory can inform good social work practice when working with elderly people with a diagnosis of dementia. The Prime Minister’s Challenge (DH, 2015) aims to transform dementia services by 2020 requiring social workers to keep up-to-date with dementia service users and their carers, but there is scant guidance understanding behaviour associated with dementia. Dementia is a term for a group of clinical diseases affecting the brain, with the most common forms including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. People also at risk of developing dementia include those with Motor Neurone disease, Parkinson’s, HIV and AIDS. A degenerative disease symptoms include; memory loss; speech, personality and mental capacity changes (Alzheimer’s Society, 2016), with a population predicted to increase from 850,000 people in the UK to more than one million by 2025 (Alzheimer’s Society, 2014). Social workers will increasingly be required to develop anti- oppressive approaches in order to work with this growing population, making sure support and resources are in place to enhance wellbeing. This places increasing importance on working with the person and their carers understanding and utilising the knowledge that differerent forms of communication may present. Read more at:

/data/dynamic/spaw/documents/Arrachment and Dementia.pdf

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