The Dementia Diaries ISBN: 9781785920325
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016
Four young people, Brie, Fred, Sam, and Sarah, tell us about their experiences with their grandparents who have dementia. Three of the grandparents are granddads, and the fourth is a granny - all are well-loved and close to their grandchildren. The book is in a chapter format, rather like a graphic novel, with lots of interspersed pictures on each page - sketches, and small black and white comic-style bits and pieces. The language is very much teen or pre-teen orientated, and the book will appeal to a wide range of children and young people. Their experiences are wide-ranging too, and we are taken from the beginning of dementia through to the stage where each grandparent is needing full time care - except in the case of Sam's Nanny, who is so full of life and so zany with it that while she has dementia, it isn't obvious to Sam until towards the end of the book when she must tell him. The four experiences are very different, often very moving, and the four young people learn lots of good ways of coping with their grandparents odd behaviour. We hear about wandering and getting lost, about peeing in the wrong place, about a grandmother who is the most amazing, loving carer ever, and about a granddad who loves playing with the neighbours cat. There is a huge amount here, all of it highly realistic and often funny and endearing. The book idea, started by the Social Innovation Lab Kent (SILK), is a compilation of stories by many different families with a person suffering from dementia, and so, while the novel is fiction, it is also factual so far as the information in it goes. They aren't sad stories; more, they are positive and warm because the people involved are loving and real. The book belongs in every junior and secondary school and is already in many. The introduction to a condition that children usually know nothing about could not be better, and the format is very accessible and understanding. There are also Learning Resources available via a QR scan at the back of the book. Superb! Available from Amazon, from book shops, and from the publisher: www.jkp.com.