Today in the The Times of London (@thetimes} is a short letter from Dr Brendon Smith from Arley, Cheshire. Dr Smith commenting on The Times recent series The Age of Dementia shares his experience of performing a mini mental state assessment on a gentleman with moderate to severe dementia. Dr Smith remarks that the gentleman did not know the day or month but when asked to write one sentence with a verb and subject wrote ‘I love my wife’. Dr Smith ends his letter with ‘Just this four-word sentence brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eyes’.
What is both remarkable and unremarkable about Dr Smith’s letter is the poetic simplicity of 110 words which gets straight to the heart of the matter – relationships, compassion and connection.
Getting straight to the heart of the matter also threads its way through ‘Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Dementia’ by Dr Shibley Rahman @dr_shibley published by Jessica Kingsley Publications. Shibley is launching his new book tomorrow (Saturday 4th February 2017 and you can follow the event using #DemBkLaunch).
Rather tardily, I only ordered and received Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Dementia yesterday. However, as a carer and a nurse, I could not put the book down and I highly recommend it. What I like about it is this:
o The person, who they are and their relationships with those who matter to them, communities and policy is the beating heart of the book.
o It is well researched and referenced, infusing every paragraph, page and chapter.
o It is thought provoking, but opinions are backed up by facts or recognition that debate and evidence is still needed.
o It is political, challenging our perceptions of dementia policy and our personal or societal contributions.
o It is practical, covering a range of topics including spirituality, sexuality and oral health.
Chapter 12 ‘Dying Well’ is thoughtful and well researched. Of course, this was the chapter I paid the most attention to and I think this chapter (and book) will be a regular recommendation to those who work in dementia and end of life care as well as others who are interested in this area.
Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Dementia is published by Jessica Kingsley Publications.