Dementia Connections - 13/3/18

The Dementia Connections was an event that we at Griffin Books were very passionate about. The idea for the event was born after two local women, Jane Mullins and Liz Webb-Hooper, both came to us separately in the shop to ask if we could stock their books, both of which are about dementia. We decided we would go one step further, and not only stock the books, but hold an event with Jane and Liz where they could speak about their experiences of dementia and talk about their books. We hoped we would also be able to raise some money for a dementia charity with this event. 

Liz and Jane came to the event with very different perspectives. Jane's book 'Finding the Light in Dementia' is written with her expertise gained from 25 years of the study and practice of dementia care. Finding the Light explains common changes that occur in those living with dementia, and includes helpful work pages for you to write down any changes you've noticed. 

Liz's book 'Pennies From Heaven' is a more personal account of caring for her father, who lived with dementia for the last three years of his life. 

The conversation between the two women, chaired by Mel, was very interesting and informative. Jane came to Mel and the audience's questions with a more clinical point of view; she explained that every day items can look different when you are living with dementia, such as rugs or marks on the walls, and this can be very frightening. She also brought along with her a number of props that she uses in her work, which can be good for triggering memories. Often, those living with dementia can lose a lot of their short term memories, and therefore find it hard to complete every day tasks, but can have perfectly clear memories from 30 or 40 years ago. Jane brought items such as sand from the beach where she grew up, old records and the soap she used when she was a child as examples of items that would triggers memories for her. 

Liz had a lot of advice to give about what to do when you have a personal relationship with someone you're caring for, especially about gaining power of attorney. She emphasised that the process of caring for her father was made much easier by being able to make important decisions for him, and it was also helped by having an advocate, who could advice them further about legal matters. Liz also shared memories of her father from her life, and some audience members also shared their experiences of caring for family members. 

The whole morning went better than we could have hoped for - there was over forty people there, all of whom spoke to one another and shared experiences and memories, both happy and sad. 

Rachel Niblock from DEEP - Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project - attended and gave a small speech at the end with her thoughts on dementia, having worked with DEEP for many years now. We were able to raise money for our local DEEP group at the Kymin, which we were very pleased about. 

Thank you very much to all those who came - we hope you were as moved by the morning as we were. 

We have copies of both Liz and Jane's books in the shop now! 

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