Written by Dasha Kiper
NOT JUST ONE SUFFERER
Review by Gunnel Minett
When we talk about dementia we usually assume that there is just one sufferer but this book reveals that there are at least two. Although suffering from dementia is a very bad way to end one’s life, it can equally be a very bad for relatives and carers to witness and be part of how a loved one disappears bit by bit. Not as much attention has been paid, however, to the situation of the people caring for the dementia sufferer.
To understand how dementia can manifest itself is therefore important. One reason being that dementia does not necessarily develop in the same way in every case. Apart from losing memory, it may also lead to sudden mood-swings, aggression and irrational behaviour. This may not be as obvious as it sounds. Dementia often means a gradual deterioration that may take a time to detect. A person can be clear thinking and perfectly ‘normal’ one day and very forgetful and incoherent the next.
Coping with this unpredictability can be very stressful for the carer. It can also mean that the carer is subject to sudden aggression or negativity, which again is very stressful and testing for the carer. Although the carer may understand intellectually that it is the ‘illness talking’ it can be difficult to avoid emotional reactions.
It’s these issues which this book addresses. It offers a number of ‘case stories’ describing different scenarios that a carer can encounter. Alongside these the author offers explanations based on current neuroscience to explain how and why they occur. Presenting the different scenarios as short stories helps the reader to get involved emotionally and to identify with the situation, both for the carer and the dementia sufferer. That helps when it comes to understanding the neuro-scientific explanation at the end. Although nobody wants see themselves or their loved ones end their lives as dementia sufferers, the book offers insights that can be valuable for all. With an ageing population, the risk of having to face dementia at some point in our lives will most likely increase.
Published by Profile Books, http://www.profilebooks.com, 2023, 220PP, Paperback, ISBN 978-1-80081 619 0