|Anne Davis Basting
Memory loss can be one of the most terrifying aspects of a diagnosis of dementia. Yet the fear and dread of losing our memory make the experience of the disease worse than it needs to be, according to cultural critic and playwright Anne Davis Basting. She says, Forget memory. Basting emphasizes the importance of activities that focus on the present to improve the lives of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Based on ten years of practice and research in the field, Basting’s study includes specific examples of innovative programs that stimulate growth, humor, and emotional connection; translates into accessible language a wide range of provocative academic works on memory; and addresses how advances in medical research and clinical practice are already pushing radical changes in care for persons with dementia. Bold, optimistic, and innovative, Basting’s cultural critique of dementia care offers a vision for how we can change the way we think about and care for people with memory loss.
“A unique work. This wide-ranging critique of the current approach to the care of persons with dementia and memory impairment provides a much-needed prescription for change.”
—Peter V. Rabins, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, coauthor of The 36-Hour Day
“One of the most creative scholars in the area of dementia practice reminds in an unforgettable way that memory is more than we think and also less.”
—Peter J. Whitehouse, Case Western Reserve University, coauthor of The Myth of Alzheimer’s
“With her big ideas and sharp criticism, Anne Basting is a vital part of the Alzheimer’s community. I don’t always agree with her, but I’m sure glad she’s a part of this important conversation.”
—David Shenk, author of The Forgetting
“Forget Memory is truly a memorable book. From its readings of films like Away from Her and Finding Nemo to its moving accounts of art, music, and dance programs for people with dementia, Forget Memory offers us a vision of a more humane world—and a better future for aging people of all ages.”
—Michael Bérubé, The Pennsylvania State University
“Anne Basting’s Forget Memory brings a lighthearted spirit of hope, love, creativity, and even fun to the culture of fear surrounding memory loss. It should be an essential guide to all families, caregivers, and patients seeking a humane response to the diagnosis of dementia.”
—Elinor Fuchs, author of Making an Exit: A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer’s, Machine Tools, and Laughter
ANNE BASTING (Ph.D.) is the Director of the Center on Age & Community and an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at the Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she teaches storytelling and playwriting. Basting has written extensively on issues of aging and representation, including her book The Stages of Age: Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture. Her numerous articles and essays have been published across multiple disciplines including journals such as The Drama Review, American Theatre, and Journal of Aging Studies, and anthologies Figuring Age, Mental Wellness in Aging, the Handbook for the Humanities and Aging, and Aging and the Meaning of Time. Basting is the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Brookdale National Fellowship, and numerous major grants for her scholarly and creative endeavors. Her creative work includes nearly a dozen plays and public performances, including The Frida Kahlo Retrospective, All the Live Long Day, Persuasion (co-written with Ping Chong), the Last Dinosaur, and Time Slips. Basting received her Ph.D. in Theatre Arts and Dance from the University of Minnesota. Basting continues to direct the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project, which she founded in 1998. She makes numerous presentations creativity and aging across the United States.
I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with hubby and documentary filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein, our two boys Ben and Will, and dog Phoebe. I am in the minivan, soccer, baseball, and falling asleep at 10 phase of my life. A friend keeps asking me what I want to do when I grow up, and I truly don’t know. For now, I say I’m an applied artist/writer/teacher and public scholar. I’m on the board of our local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. I adore mountains and the view of Lake Michigan from Atwater Park in Milwaukee. Somehow, that view makes everything okay. I have a sister who lives in Milwaukee, and a brother in Minneapolis. Both are lawyers. My dad is a lawyer too. I don’t know why I’m not a lawyer… My mom is a former teacher with a manic love of learning…maybe that’s why.
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