Moving story of personal dementia care
Provides insight into impact of Alzheimer’s
How to relate to Alzheimer’s sufferers
Contains information on available services and resources
How would you react to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis? With fear? Incomprehension? Anger? Robin Thomson and his wife, Shoko, experienced all these emotions when she was diagnosed with the disease, but this tender and honest account shows how they were able to grow and deepen their relationship through persistent love and creative friendship even as the Alzheimer’s quickly progressed.
It is estimated that there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, along with 700,000 families involved in their care. The number of carers is projected to increase by 60 per cent by 2030 and they provide an estimated £11.6bn worth of unpaid care (which may be more than 40% of the total cost of dementia care) [i].
Living with Alzheimer’s examines the bigger picture surrounding the disease, such as the deep holes in the health and social care system and how to navigate them, but it is also a personal story showing the realities and true cost of the disease.
When Robin’s wife, Shoko, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she and Robin had no clue about what lay ahead. A few years later, when the disease took over their lives, they learned the hard way. They went through discouragement and relentless pressure as Shoko’s personality changed and she lost her capacity in many areas of life – but not her constant affection and love. They also experienced love and practical help from family and friends, and the carers who visited them, backed up by health and social care professionals.
Set against a backdrop of hope, it is written primarily for caregivers, families and friends who share the same pain and pressure. It asks what you can do to help the person you are caring for and sustain yourself. What resources are available? How do you find your way in the confusing range of services that may (or may not) be offered in your area?
Robin says: ‘Attitudes are changing. But fear and incomprehension are still the most common responses to Alzheimer’s. It truly is a fearsome and mysterious disease. But the key message of the book is this – we can and must go on relating to those living with dementia, with love and creative friendship. This was also a spiritual journey. My faith was deeply challenged. But I experienced new levels of love and support as part of a community of love and friendship, and I came to understand more about how the self retains its real identity and meaning, grounded in the love of family, the wider community and the love of God.’
Living with Alzheimer’s by Robin Thomson (ISBN: 9781912726196) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 16th January 2020 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Non-fiction, 192pp, £8.99.