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Supporting Older People Using Attachment-Informed and Strengths-Based Approaches

Supporting Older People Using Attachment-Informed and Strengths-Based Approaches

Imogen Blood and Lydia Guthrie

Quick Overview

The first practical guide to cover the basics of attachment theory and how it can be applied to improve the wellbeing of older adults in care. The Care Act 2014 proposed a radical shift to a preventative, strengths-based approach to social care, and this book includes tools for frontline health and care workers to adapt this policy into practice.
Details Price Qty
Paperback / softback
2018, 8.98in x 6.06in / 228mm x 154mm, 248pp
ISBN: 9781785921230
2018, ePUB, 160pp
ISBN: 978-1-78450-387-1
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The significance of attachment theory for working with older people has been overlooked, and yet its importance is clear - evident in the experiences of people who struggle to adapt to new ways of living, to life with limiting health conditions, or to new social networks.

This book explains how an understanding of attachment theory can empower health and social care staff, and improve the care of older people. It also serves as an accessible introduction to strengths-based working, covering principles and practice as well as key practice issues such as positive risk-taking, supporting people with dementia, working in end of life settings and working with whole families.

With in-depth case studies depicting a broad span of experiences and easy to use tools for practice, this practical guide serves as an essential guide for all staff supporting older adults.

This hands-on guide will help frontline workers convert this policy vision into practice.


'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.'
- Professor David Shemmings OBE PhD, Director of the Attachment and Relationship-Based Practice Project

'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.'
- Clark Baim, Senior Trainer, Supervisor and Psychotherapist

'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!'
- John Kennedy, Independent Consultant and Commentator in Adult Social Care


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.



By (author): Lydia Guthrie, Imogen Blood