I love a manual. Someone, somewhere has done this before right? So I popped into Thame Library to see what was available.
Turns out there are quite a few books on Caring and Dementia. I scooped up an armful and brought five home.
The first one, ‘The Carer’s Handbook’, written by Jane Matthews, an ex carer, is comprehensive and straightforward, offering good advice chunked into relevant sections. Good if you want one book to refer to, to help you navigate through the landscape of caring officialdom. You would need to check websites for current local and national policies, but that would apply to all these books.
The prose in ‘The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring’ is warm and informal, though I really struggled with calling Marj a ‘piglet’, even if I can relate to the ‘selfish pig’. Perhaps I need to loosen up. What Hugh Marriott (himself a carer) does do very well in this book is address topics that may be uncomfortable to voice ‘carer to non carer’ i.e. feelings that might make you appear selfish (God forbid!). The compassion and empathy in the chapter for young carers particularly moved me to tears.
There are smaller booklets available too, for example the two shown here, which give advice on caring for people with Dementia. They are a quick read, ideal for time starved carers and there’ll always be something useful to learn. I now know more about the different types of Dementia and how to adjust Marj’s physical and emotional environment to make her more comfortable.
The fifth book ‘Dear Dementia’ by Ian Donaghy was a last minute, intuitive selection. While all the ‘cartoons’ didn’t engage with me, I found some pages very affecting. I have inserted part of one here.
Next time you take some ‘me’ time (and make sure you do), try a book and a coffee at the library.