This paper sets out a new approach to dementia that may be used to underpin mental health nursing practice. The paper begins by examining the development of community care. Various models of service provision to people with dementia are then critically examined. As an alternative to these approaches a new model of dementia is developed which highlights the position of various family members in the provision of dementia care including the person with dementia and also the importance of linguistic devices such as narrative and discourse. Finally the implications of this approach upon the mental health nursing practice are examined together with various suggestions for the development of research.