What are you doing here?

Cover of What are you doing here?Dementia. It is a hard thing. Local author Janet Wainscott has written a book called What are you doing here? Reflections on Dementia. She tells the story of her Mum’s dementia as it progresses over many years, and shares other people’s experiences too – at all stages, from those earliest incidents indicating something is wrong:

Later, D. and her brother found a kitchen cupboard where their mother has hidden a pile of wooden chopping boards marked with deep black circles from the bottom of overheated pots and pans. She’d obviously been having difficulty for some time, but had managed, just, to cover it up and hide the evidence.

This small book combines medical knowledge with observation. It is also beautifully written – in a support club, Janet sees The Press used as “reality orientation”:

The newspaper is normal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand what you’re reading or you read it upside-down, because it’s familiar. Even people with no language will look at the newspaper and at the pictures.

There is such honesty in this book – toileting issues, guilt, the toughness of being a caregiver, and the pain of having to get your parent into a resthome. But they need to be talked about – What are you doing here? does it in a way we can all identify with.

Visit Janet’s website for more information.

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3 thoughts on “What are you doing here?

  1. Juliet 21 November 2013 / 10:44 am

    Thanks for highlighting this book. I will look out for it.

  2. nzdecisionmakers 22 November 2013 / 2:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Your Best Financial Decision and commented:
    Unfortunately dementia is rampant amongst our population. It is a debilitating and often embarassing illness that can see the sufferer hiding symptoms and family members not knowing how to deal with it. It is great to see a local book that deals with the issues is a real but helpful way.

  3. Laraine 23 November 2013 / 6:31 am

    My MIL died of Alzheimer’s (though we didn’t know what it was until, after her death, we saw a TV programme called The Silent Epidemic). When she became a danger to both herself and others and they were looking for secure accommodation for her I looked after her on weekends and her two daughters shared the week (I worked and they didn;t). I was on my own on the Saturday (which was the norm in those days) and I remember long boring hours sitting with her (repetitively telling her the washing, the dinner, etc, was all taken care of) because she wasn’t so far gone she couldn’t work out how to operate a Yale latch. I was still young enough to care what people would think if she got out into the road and it looked to my neighbours as if I was holding an old lady against her will.

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