Telling tales about dementia - Lucy Whitman



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Telling tales about dementia - experiences of caring
Lucy Whitman
Paperback / softback
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
UK Publication Date

How does it feel when someone you love develops dementia? How do you cope with the shock, the stress and the grief? Can you be sure that you and your family will receive the support you need?

In Telling Tales About Dementia, thirty carers from different backgrounds and in different circumstances share their experiences of caring for a parent, partner or friend with dementia. They speak from the heart about love and loss: 'I still find it hard to believe that Alzheimer's has happened to us,' writes one contributor, 'as if we were sent the wrong script.' The stories told here vividly reflect the tragedy of dementia, the gravity of loss, and instances of unsatisfactory diagnosis, treatment and care. But they contain hope and optimism too: clear indications that the quality of people's lives can be enhanced by sensitive support services, by improved understanding of the impact of dementia, by recognising the importance of valuing us all as human beings, and by embracing and sustaining the connections between us.

This unique collection of personal accounts will be an engaging read for anyone affected by dementia in a personal or professional context, including relatives of people with dementia, social workers, medical practitioners and care staff.

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Lucy Whitman is a writer, editor and trainer, and a former teacher in further education. She cared for her mother who had dementia, and this inspired her first anthology, Telling Tales About Dementia: Experiences of Caring, a collection of person accounts by people who have looked after someone with dementia. Her new anthology, People with Dementia Speak Out, a collection of personal accounts by people who have a diagnosis of dementia, will be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2015. Lucy has worked extensively with family carers, and writes regularly for the Journal of Dementia Care. She works as Community Engagement Officer for Healthwatch Enfield.

... these 208 pages (with additional glossary, lists of recommended reading and helpful organisations), does have genuinely uplifting moments, sprinkled among the diverse and informative case studies: this is a genuinely moving document, and the wealth of experience drawn on merits careful consideration... Given present estimates that there are 700,000 individuals in the UK experiencing some form of dementing illness, books such as this serve a valuable purpose.
Working with Older People, Stephen Weeks, Book Reviews Editor

Despite the increasing number of books on caring for a person with dementia, few capture the perspective of the carer to the degree managed by Lucy Whitman in her edited book Telling Tales about Dementia... Together the real-life stories provide a range of insights into: the grief and stress of losing a loved one to dementia ('Living with loss'); managing the challenges of dealing with the care system ('Dispatches from the battlefield'); and maintaining communication with a relative with advanced dementia and/or keeping them company at the end of life ('Keeping in touch, letting go'). These are supplemented by a very useful contextualising introduction by the editor, and some recommended reading and a list of helpful organisations at the end. These moving and personal stories, which are a mixture of the voices of the carers themselves and a transcription of a discussion with the editor, evidence the complexity, pain and variety of both "having dementia" and dementia caring experiences. The fact that some of the tales are accompanied by photographs, that one contribution is in the form of a poem and that the tales are from carers from a variety of backgrounds strengthens the book's capacity to provide a genuine cornucopia of human experience "warts and all"... One the most powerful dimensions of the book is its multiple perspectives and inspiring portrays of astonishing levels of stoicism, devotion, resilience and love displayed by "ordinary" people for their relatives and friends with a chronic, disabling and distressing condition...The book unashamedly adopts the subjective experience of dementia caring as its standpoint and offers a rich source of raw evidence about what it is like to care for someone you love with dementia in the real world, right now.
Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

I know of no book at all comparable to this recent Jessica Kingsley publication... Telling Tales about Dementia will be a great encouragement to other carers. They will feel in the company of those who do understand the agony and the poignancy from the inside. It also has so much to contribute to the understanding and training of professional carers. It is devoutly to be hoped that, as the government's national dementia strategy is implemented, it will address some of the vital concerns so vividly depicted in this book.
Christian Council on Ageing

As a practitioner in dementia support, I found this book inspiring. With dementia rising up the healthcare agenda and the government's dementia strategy acknowledging the scale of future needs, it is important to listen to the voice of people living with dementia in service planning.
Nursing Standard

Every one of these stories is a jewel-house of observation, dedication and feeling. Every one can and should be used to teach us as individuals and in reflective groups - be we informal (family) carers or professionals... This is a wonderful book which we must be thankful for and make good use of.
For Dementia Plus

There is much to be learned from these thirty moving and beautifully written stories of carers looking after people they love and who have dementia. The accounts are all very different and each has something special to tell us about the centrality of relationships and life histories in understanding and caring for anyone.
John Burton - Caring Times; Standards for Practice

These personal accounts by family carers, harrowing, distressing, but also inspiring and uplifting, will have you weeping one moment and laughing the next, as they describe struggling to manage situations that range from horrific to comical. How do you cope alone with your loved one's slow loss of rational thought and behaviour? You cannot - and you need not. The single most valuable achievement of this book is to tell carers they are not alone. The more of us there are, the stronger we become, and the better we can fight for our loved ones in the face of this cruel disease.
John Suchet, broadcaster, who is caring for his wife Bonnie, who has dementia.

Keyword Index
Dementia - Patients - Care.|Caregivers' writings.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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