Travelers to Unimaginable Lands: Stories of Dementia, the Caregiver, and the Human Brain (Hardcover)

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Travelers to Unimaginable Lands: Stories of Dementia, the Caregiver, and the Human Brain By Dasha Kiper, Norman Doidge (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Dasha Kiper, Norman Doidge (Foreword by)
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Description


These compelling case histories meld science and storytelling to illuminate the complex relationship between the mind of someone with dementia and the mind of the person caring for them.

“This book will forever change the way we see people with dementia disorders—and the people who care for them.”—Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

After getting a master’s degree in clinical psychology, Dasha Kiper became the live-in caregiver for a Holocaust survivor with Alzheimer’s disease. For a year, she endured the emotional strain of looking after a person whose condition disrupts the rules of time, order, and continuity. Inspired by her own experience and her work counseling caregivers in the subsequent decade, Kiper offers an entirely new way to understand the symbiotic relationship between patients and those tending to them. Her book is the first to examine how the workings of the “healthy” brain prevent us from adapting to and truly understanding the cognitively impaired one.

In these poignant but unsentimental stories of parents and children, husbands and wives, Kiper explores the existential dilemmas created by this disease: A man believes his wife is an impostor. A woman’s imaginary friendships drive a wedge between herself and her devoted husband. Another woman’s childhood trauma emerges to torment her son. A man’s sudden Catholic piety provokes his wife.

Why is taking care of a family member with dementia so difficult? Why do caregivers succumb to behaviors—arguing, blaming, insisting, taking symptoms personally—they know are counterproductive? Exploring the healthy brain’s intuitions and proclivities, Travelers to Unimaginable Lands reveals the neurological obstacles to caregiving, enumerating not only the terrible pressures the disease exerts on our closest relationships but offering solace and perspective as well.

About the Author


Dasha Kiper is the consulting clinical director of support groups at CaringKind (formerly the Alzheimer’s Association) and holds an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University. She works with dementia patients and caregivers.

Praise For…


“This book will forever change the way we see people with dementia disorders—and the people who care for them. Dasha Kiper compassionately illuminates the complex bond between us and our loved ones suffering from cognitive decline, surprising us with what we can learn about ourselves through this experience and the ways our own minds both deceive us and make us uniquely human.”—Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

“How do we cope with those who have lost something as profound as the ‘normal’ sense of self? Travelers to Unimaginable Lands is a compassionate and insightful book about dementia and its startling effects.”—Roz Chast, author of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

“Stirring, persuasive, and memorable . . . an eloquent and gripping book about personalities and the dances between them, exposing what dementia reveals about both the patient and the caretaker.”—David Eagleman, neuroscientist at Stanford, author of Livewired

“This book—richly endowed with experience and wisdom—is a treasure. It provides those who care for the neurologically impaired the comfort of empathic insight into their own problematic behavior. Like no other book, it examines how taking care of the impaired mind affects one’s own mind and sets up an internal struggle that reveals something fundamental about the human brain. I predict a long life for Travelers to Unimaginable Lands for anyone interested in or intimately involved with those afflicted by dementia.”—Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments

“Filled with insights and clinical jewels from start to finish, this book has much to teach us about the brain, our emotions, and the self. It is a treasure.”—from the foreword by Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself

“Dasha Kiper’s exhilarating and enlightening book offers sensitive, intimate portraits of Alzheimer’s caregivers and their loved ones, enhanced by an informed tour of the mind and how it works. I can think of no other book that covers the challenges caregivers face—the ‘fine, nearly impossible, line’ they must walk—with such insight and understanding. For them, Kiper provides a priceless way to find the meaning in the journey and to feel less alone.”—Robert Kolker, author of Hidden Valley Road


Product Details
ISBN: 9780399590535
ISBN-10: 0399590536
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: March 7th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English