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354. A Family Guide to Dementia with Brent Forester

Dementia is a complex topic that requires a delicate balance of understanding, compassion, and expertise. With the prevalence of dementia on the rise, healthcare providers, caregivers, and individuals themselves must have a solid grasp on how to navigate these challenging conditions. Our guest Brent Forester is an expert in geriatric psychiatry and dementia care, bringing almost three decades of experience supporting individuals with dementia and older adults facing mental health challenges. Discussing his co-authorship with Tom Harrison of “The Complete Family Guide to Dementia: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Parent and Yourself“, we hear about his proactive approach to caregiving and education for families and his journey into geriatric psychiatry. Through his insights into the nuances of dementia care, early diagnosis, treatment, the importance of distinguishing between various types of dementia, and grief in caregiving, Brent guides us in developing resilience and adapting to the emotional complexities of caring for a loved one with dementia.  

Listen and Learn: 

  • The admiration for his role model grandmother and fascination with problem-solving in medicine that influenced Brent’s career in Geriatric psychiatry 
  • The process of diagnosing dementia and the benefits of early diagnosis
  • The difference between the clinical syndrome, which we call dementia, and the disease of dementia
  • What are the causes and symptoms of dementia? 
  • The multifaceted challenges dementia presents and the need for comprehensive healthcare approaches that consider these complexities
  • Goal setting and the importance of self-care for caregivers of people suffering from dementia 

Resources: 

About Brent P. Forester

Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc. is the Dr. Frances S. Arkin Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, Psychiatrist in Chief and Chairman for the Department of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center and Director of Behavioral Health for Tufts Medicine. 

Dr. Forester spent a quarter of a century of his professional career at McLean Hospital and Mass General Brigham where he served as the Chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McLean Hospital and Senior Medical Director for Value Based Care Solutions in the Population Health Management department at Mass General Brigham. Dr. Forester is an expert in geriatric psychiatry, specializing in the treatment of older adults with depression, bipolar disorder, and behavioral complications of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. He is a Past President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP), a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and has previously served on the board of directors of the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts/New Hampshire and chair of their Medical Scientific Committee.

Dr. Forester’s research focuses on novel treatment approaches to manage the disabling behavioral complications of dementia, such as agitation and aggression. Dr. Forester’s work also includes the implementation and evaluation of collaborative care models for comprehensive dementia care within primary care medical settings

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Episode 354