Applying attachment theory to close relationships in later life is still a neglected topic (I say that with some experience because it was the subject of my PhD, and it was just as neglected then). This book goes a long way to stress the importance of recognising that attachment processes carry on until the end of life, when the loss of key attachment figures is more and more frequent. By introducing 'strength-based' and other contemporary ideas closely connected with attachment theory and research the authors have produced a very relevant and readable volume for practitioners from all disciplines.
This book is an essential read for practitioners, supervisors, researchers and educators concerned with working with older adults. Attachment theory is about all of us, across the whole of our lives. Imogen Blood and Lydia Guthrie have written a richly rewarding and comprehensive volume, providing profound and useful insights and ideas for working systemically, holistically and humanely with older people.
This is a really important and timely book. It's essential that we inject the humanity back into our caring relationships, formal and informal. Too much attention is given to the architecture of care; rules regulations, protocols. Too little is done to support carers and care workers to foster the essential and deeply human relationships we'd like to see. Far to little understanding and recognition about how we as humans can be best engaged to bring our empathy, humanity and kindness to the fore. Blood and Guthrie draw on solid evidence to demonstrate why we have to change our culture around care, it's not about 'them' it's about all of 'us'. If we want care to be kind we have to make the system around it kind. Until we fully recognise the relational and human aspect to care we will continue to fail to create the conditions for kind of care we want for our loved ones and indeed ourselves. Bravo!
A final chapter (a real strength of the book) contains eleven 'tools' for students and practitioners to adapt to their work with clear, accessible explanations alongside. The tools cover examples of motivational interviewing, life story work, genograms, 'my world' diagrams and so forth. Particularly strong and thought provoking is the authors' emphasis on attachment across the life cycle, and their application of this theory to older people helps generally to challenge our thought processes in this area. This encourages critical attention to the ways in which we can 'dehumanise' older people unintentionally through subconscious fears, our own attachment histories, and lack of time and space for reflection.