This book is packed with easy-to-read information and advice for sufferers with dementia and their carers. It takes the reader through the diagnosis process, the ethical dilemma of sharing diagnosis, available treatments and a discussion of the emotional effects of the condition, for both sufferer and carer. It is aimed at both parties and manages to keep the delicate balance between the interests of the two.
The author Lorraine West lives in Australia and the book reflects her familiarity with its health system, including an interesting section on the “Living with memory loss program”, which is an influential part of early onset dementia care in that country.
The book is subtitled Reassurance for Sufferers and Carers, which provides me with my only gripe about this excellent book. I am not sure how much reassurance is possible for families coping with dementia, and the book does rather ignore the difficulties people face, choosing, rather, to emphasise treatments and coping strategies. It is important not to pathologise people with dementia and their carers, but there is a risk of all this optimism isolating and depressing sufferers and carers, who don’t find it quite so easy to come to terms with dementia.
Rachel Wooller is senior social worker, Cambridgeshire Council.