Dasha Kiper, "Travelers to Unimaginable Lands: Stories of Dementia, the Caregiver, and the Human Brain" (Random House, 2023)


If you’ve ever worked with dementia patients before, you know how unique and bizarre the experience can be, and how little the stereotypes actually hold up to the experience. Even knowing about the diagnosis often does little to help us in caring for people, and many caregivers find themselves getting sucked into behavioral loops of their own. This is because your brain is not wired to deal with the altered form of reality that dementia patients inhabit. Evolution has not equipped us to deal with these dynamics.

Unpacking all this is our guest today, Dasha Kiper in her book Travelers to Unimaginable Lands: Stories of Dementia, the Caregiver, and the Human Brain (Random House, 2023). Having both worked with dementia patients and run support groups for caregivers, she’s seen patterns play out over countless situations, and has mapped the cognitive landscape of people working to take care of those afflicted with the disease. In a series of engaging and provocative essays, she’s able to elucidate our limitations, the various neurological traps we are often tempted to fall into, hopefully offering caregivers some clarity on themselves and just how far from reality this work often takes them.

Dasha Kiper is the consulting clinical director of support groups at an Alzheimer’s organization, and holds an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University.

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