At the book launch last Thursday we heard three key messages from the book:
They are also on this video interview:
Short version (2.5 minutes): https://youtu.be/e5s2OA886pY
Long version (11.5 minutes, more reflective): https://youtu.be/rdsMqsovZaE
1. We go on relating with love and attention.
What is the most important thing we can do for the person living with Alzheimer’s, or other kinds of dementia? It’s easy to feel powerless or uncomfortable.
There are many practical things. But what I learned – rather slowly, rather late in the day – was that my most significant contribution was the way I related to Shoko.
‘Your body language is more important than what you say,’ our daughter told me many times, long before I understood it myself.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can be fearsome and mysterious. But we don’t need to be afraid. The persons affected by them are still persons and we just go on relating with love and attention.
2. Friends are so important.
Carers need lots of support! And friends need to be intentional in supporting them. We had two or three who came regularly. Visits, phone calls and practical help are all invaluable. It isn’t always easy. But friends don’t forget. They don’t stay away. And they don’t give up.
3. We need a support team.
It begins with family and friends. But we also need to find professionals who combine medical authority, personal relationship and accessibility. Find someone who can explain what is happening now, what is going to happen, and how you get the practical help you need. We were very fortunate to find a team like that.