Kendal Library has Books on Prescription specifically for information on Dementia:

Reminiscence collections:

Historical collections, audio recordings, books, photographs and posters.

Information about local dementia services:

Libraries are a good place to find out about services, groups and self-help support available locally for people affected by dementia.

We also have a range of publications at our office that are available for Carers to borrow.


Reviews

Elizabeth is Misssing by Emma Healey

Fiction
Published by Penguin Random House UK
ISB: 978-0-241-96818-5

elizabeth coverMaud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable – or her daughter a complete stranger.

But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing.

The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy year old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone except Maud…….

Short Excerpt:

Maud has gone to the police station to tell them that her friend Elizabeth is missing.

“Hello, Mrs Horsham”, a voice says.

I look up. There’s a desk on the other side of the room with a sign saying POLICE RECEPTION. I read it aloud. There is a man behind the desk.

“Same as usual?” he says, his voice sounding metallic through the speakers.

“Usual?” I say.

“Elizabeth is it?” He nods, as if encouraging mw to say a line in a play.

“Elizabeth, yes”, I say amazed. Of course, that’s what I’ve come for. I’ve come for her.

“Do you know Elizabeth?” I ask, feeling a rush of relief.

“Oh, yes, I know all about Elizabeth” he says.

Tears of relief come into my eyes and I smile through them.

“Missing, right”?

I nod.

“Probably that no-good son of hers, don’t you think?”

“And no one else seems to think she’s missing. That it?”

“That’s exactly it, Officer” I say clinging to the counter.

“Thought it might be”. He grins at me for a couple of seconds. I have a sinking feeling.

“This’ll be the…let me see.” he clicks at the computer a few times”…. Fourth time you’ve been in”.

Fourth time? “So,” I say. “Is someone looking for Elizabeth already then?” I know as soon as the words are out of my mouth that it’s hopeless.

He laughs. “Oh yeah. I’ve got every man on the force out. Sniffer dogs, forensics, flying squad. They’re all out there _ he pauses to skim a hand through the – “looking for your friend Elizabeth!


Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Fiction
Published by Simon and Schuster 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4711-4082-2

Still-AliceAlice is just fifty when she finds herself in a downward spiral, increasingly disorientated and forgetful. A university professor, wife and mother of three, she has books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But now a tragic diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is set to change her life – and her relationship with her family and the world – forever.

Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging in a frayed thread. But she is still Alice.

Short Excerpt:

Alice has been asked to speak at a major conference on Alzheimer’s.

“Good Morning. My name is Dr. Alice Howland. I am not a neurologist or general practice physician, however. My doctorate is in psychology. I was a professor at Harvard University for twenty five years. I taught courses in cognitive psychology, I did research in the field of linguistics, and I lecture all over the world.

“I am not here today, however, to talk to you as an expert in psychology and language. I am here today to talk to you as an expert in Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t treat patients run clinical trials. Study mutations in DNA, or counsel patients and their families. I am an expert in the subject because, just over a year ago I was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’m honoured to have this opportunity to talk to you today, to hopefully lend some insight into what it is like to live with dementia. So, although I’ll still know what its like I will be unable to express it to you. And too soon after that, I’ll no longer know I have dementia. So what I have to say today is timely.

“We, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, are not yet utterly incompetent. We are not without language or opinions that matter or extended periods of lucidity. Yet we are not competent enough to be trusted with many of the demands and responsibilities of our former lives. We feel like we are neither here nor there, like some crazy Dr. Seuss character in a bizarre land. It’s a very lonely and frustrating place to be.

“I no longer work at Harvard. I no longer read and write research articles or books. My reality is completely different from what it was not long ago. And it is distorted. The neural pathways I use to try to understand what you are saying, what I am thinking, and what is happening around me are gummed up with amyloid. I struggle to find the words I want to say and often hear myself saying the wrong ones. I can’t confidently judge spatial distances, which means I drop things and fall down a lot and can get lost two blocks from home. And my short-term memory is hanging on by a couple of frayed threads.

“I’m losing my yesterdays. If you ask me what I did yesterday, what happened, what I saw and felt and heard, Id be hard pressed to give you details. I might guess a few things correctly. I’m an excellent guesser. But I don’t really know. I don’t remember yesterday or the yesterday before that.

“And I have no control over which yesterdays I keep and which ones get deleted. This disease will not be bargained with. I can’t offer it the names of the United States presidents in exchange for the names of my children. I can’t give it the names of the state capitals and keep the memories of my husband.

“ I often fear tomorrow. What if I wake up and don’t know who my husband is? What if I don’t know where I am or recognise myself in the mirror? When will I be no longer me? Is the part of my brain that is responsible for my unique ‘me-ness’ vulnerable to this disease? Or is my identity something that transcends neurons, proteins, and defective molecules of DNA? Is my soul and spirit immune to the ravages of Alzheimer’s? I believe it is.

“Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is like being branded with a scarlet A. This is now who I am, someone with dementia. This is how I would, for a time define myself and how others continue to define me. But I am not I say or what I do or what I remember. I am fundamentally more than that.

“I am a wife, mother, and friend, and soon to be grandmother. I still feel, understand and am worthy of love and joy in those relationships. I am still an active participant in society. My brain no longer works well, but I use my ears for unconditional listening, my shoulders for crying on, and my arms for hugging others with dementia. Through an early stage support group, through the Dementia Advocacy and Support Work International, by talking to you today, I am helping others with dementia live better with dementia. I am not someone dying. I am someone living with Alzheimer’s. I want to do that as well as I possibly can.

“I would like to encourage early diagnosis, for physicians not to assume people in their forties and fifties experiencing memory and cognition problems are depressed or stressed or menopausal. The earlier we are properly diagnosed, the earlier we can get on medication, with the hope of delaying progression and maintaining a footing on a plateau long enough to reap the benefits of a better treatment or cure soon. I still have hope for a cure, for me, for my friends with dementia, for my daughter who carries the same mutated gene. I may never be able to retrieve what I have already lost, but I can sustain what I have, I still have a lot.

“Please don’t look at our scarlet A’s and write us off. Look us directly in the eyes and talk to us. Don’t panic or take it personally if we make mistakes, because we will. We will repeat ourselves, we will misplace things, and we will get lost. We will forget your name and what you said two minutes ago. We will also try our hardest to compensate and overcome our cognitive losses.

“I encourage you to empower us, not limit us. If someone has spinal cord injury, if someone has lost a limb or has a functional disability from a stroke, families and professionals work hard to rehabilitate that person, to find ways to cope and manage despite these losses. Work with us. Help us develop tools to function around our losses in memory, language and cognition. Encourage involvement in support groups. We can help each other, both people with dementia and their care givers, navigate through this Dr. Seuss land of neither here nor there.

“My yesterdays are disappearing and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I’ll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of iot today.. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean today didn’t matter.

“ I am no longer asked to lecture about language at universities and psychology conferences all over the world. But here I am before you today, giving what I hope will be the most influential talk of my life. And I have Alzheimer’s disease.

“Thankyou”.