Recent additions to our collection

Hot pies! Cold drinks! Lovely new resources!

Nothing ignites a librarian’s interest like a padded envelope stuffed with new materials for our collection. Seriously, nothing.  Note to self: get out more.

Below is a curated list of the latest and greatest resources for you. There’s YouTube, there are books, there are journal articles.  Remember, if you are interested in borrowing anything you can, in fact, we encourage you to.  Of course, you’ll need to be a member, which you can find out more about here. For the cost of a cafe meal or two, you can get a whole year’s worth of brain food.  So very worthwhile!

YouTube: Love, Loss and Laughter – Living with Dementia, Fire Films Australia

A filmmaker’s devotion to her grandmother, who has been living with dementia for 15 years, has been the inspiration behind a film that shares the story of the international photographic exhibition, Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Dementia Differently.

Corinne Maunder, Producer, Fire Films Australia, said the Love, Loss and Laughter exhibition presented an ideal opportunity to create a meaningful piece about dementia. As an entry in the inaugural Reel Health International Health Short Film Festival, the film explores the messages behind the photos that comprised a six month tour in Australia.

“While making the film I learnt that even though dementia is a condition that people live with, it doesn’t mean a person should be isolated from the everyday activities that they can still enjoy in so many ways.

“The project made me appreciate even more, the time that I have with my grandmother and my mother and aunt’s unswerving dedication as carers,” Ms Maunder said.

American sociologist and social photographer, Cathy Greenblat took the photographs in the United States, France, India, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Monaco and more recently, in Australia. The exhibition has already touched the hearts of thousands of people as it has travelled throughout the America, Asia and Europe. A book of the same title was published in 2012.

Teen fiction book: Back to Blackbrick, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

BackBlackbrickPitched at late primary school kids and early secondary students.  This is a well-written, insightful and modern story of a young care-giver’s struggles to accept the many changes and responsibilities being forced upon him and still connect with the grandfather he knows and loves. It elegantly identifies and articulates the multi-layered strands of grief and loss and day-to-day coping that families experiencing dementia know all too well.

‘The ghosts in your life don’t ever really go away. Every so often they will whisper to you, and they will brush past you and maybe you will even feel their misty sweet breath on your skin. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it too much.’

Lost memories, lost times, lost lives – a stunning new debut novel. Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in . . . Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?

Fiction: Green Vanilla Tea, Marie Williams

green vanilla tea

This story describes the impact of dementia on the whole family but in a positive light. It outlines the ways in which the boys find the personhood of their father amongst the diagnosis. The man who was their father is not lost. It also touches on the profound and ongoing impact living with someone with dementia and motor neurone disease has on a family. This is a story of human connection, of love and of grace.

When Marie Williams’ husband Dominic started buying banana Paddle Pops by the boxful it was out of character for a man who was fit and health conscious. Dominic, Marie and their two sons had migrated to Australia to have a life where they shared more family time — when gradually Dominic’s behaviour became more and more unpredictable. It took nearly four years before there was a diagnosis of early onset dementia coupled with motor neurone disease. Marie began to write, as she says, as a refuge from the chaos and as a way to make sense of her changing world. Her book, Green Vanilla Tea, has just been named winner of the 2013 Finch Memoir Prize.

Families and Carers: Living with Dementia: A Practical Guide for families and personal carers, edited by Esther Chang and Amanda Johnson

living with dfementiaLiving with Dementia: A practical guide for families and personal carers provides a sensitive, direct and highly accessible account of the complexities and challenges that a diagnosis of dementia presents. Written by aged care experts, including academics, nurses, medical practitioners and family advocates, Living with Dementia offers evidence-based research, supported by clear chapter outcomes, key terms and real-world vignettes. Practical strategies are integrated throughout to support caregivers, paid and unpaid, in the home environment and in residential care settings.

The book offers advice on how to manage everyday activities such as feeding, toileting, personal hygiene and grooming, and coping with challenging behaviour. In recognising the needs of the whole person, mental stimulation and spirituality are also addressed. An introduction to commonly used medications, complementary therapies and effective communication strategies are provided, as well as information about caring for the dying, and most importantly, looking after you – the carer.

Whether you are an Assistant in Nursing, an Enrolled Nurse, a family member or a friend caring for a loved one, Living with Dementia will assist you to move beyond the negative perceptions, and enable a meaningful life for the person with dementia, within the limitations of the disease.

Fiction: Angela and the Cherry Tree, Raphaele Frier and Teresa Lima

angela_and_the_cherry_tree_webThis lovely picture book can be enjoyed by all ages.  Don’t be deceived into thinking it’s only for kids, the lyrical story has aspects that can be explored and understood in different ways depending on your age and personal experience.  This is a story that I would happily read with my four year old and he would think it was a lovely tale about a grandmother and her (imaginary) grandchild.  I would interpret it as an attempt to imagine and explain what it might be like to experience dementia. Whatever your take on the story is, its gorgeous, heart-warming with beautiful illustrations.

“Angela wakes up full of hope. She is expecting a visitor. She prepares her hair, puts on perfume and bakes her speciality, shortbread cookies. She waits, impatiently at times, and finally the little girl arrives.

Angela and the Cherry Tree provides a touching insight into the mind of a person suffering from dementia. It is a rare and poignant picture book, handling a sensitive subject with respect and dignity. Its insights and beauty are derived from perceptive, lyrical detail and stunning illustrations.”

DVD: You’re looking at me like I live here but I don’t, Scott Kirschenbaum

you are looking at me_webPersonally, I greatly enjoyed this unique, warts-and-all but incredibly respectful and dignified film about Lee Gorewitz, a person with dementia. Lee is an engaging, entertaining and likeable protagonist who effortlessly brings you into her world and you leave the richer for the time you have spent there with her.

This film may be confronting for some, with it’s clear-sightedness on the realities of day-to-day living with dementia, however as an example of person-centred thinking, Scott Kirschenbaum manages to capture and convey Lee’s essential personality above and beyond her diagnosis of dementia.

“In Danville, California, Lee Gorewitz wanders on a personal odyssey through her Alzheimer’s & Dementia care unit. From the moment she wakes up, Lee is on a quest – for reminders of her past, and her identity. A total immersion into the fragmented day-to-day experience of mental illness, YOU’RE LOOKING AT ME LIKE I LIVE HERE AND I DON’T is filled with charismatic vitality and penetrating ruminations that challenge our preconceptions of illness and aging. Here is one extraordinary woman who will not let us forget her, even as she struggles to remember herself.”

Person-centred dementia care: helping carers provide the best support possible

As I learn more about dementia I am awe-struck by the love and commitment that shines through the everyday challenges faced by both carers and people with dementia. It takes grace and courage to navigate the labyrinthine paths of dementia, with unexpected rays of warmth and sunshine, prolonged patches of shade and the odd storm.  The devastation that reverberates for the person with dementia, their family and their friends is not to be understated. Keeping the person, not the diagnosis, on the centre stage is diabolically difficult.

The collection we have for you today weaves a picture of the challenges, the triumphs and the love intertwined in person-centred dementia care.

Book: I’m Still Here, J. Zeisel

Im_Still_hereJohn Zeisel is an innovator in the nonpharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s. He argues that to maintain a quality life, it is essential to recognise which parts of the brain remain intact throughout the course of the disease. He shows how it’s possible to connect with those living with Alzheimer’s by engaging with abilities that don’t diminish over time, such as understanding music, art, facial expressions, touch and the deep need we all have to care for others. In this book John Zeisel outlines his groundbreaking approach and demonstrates how we can offer people with dementia a better quality of life and a connection to others and the world.

Journal: The Journal of Dementia Care, Vol. 21, No. 4, July/August 2013

jdc214The Journal of Dementia Care is a multidisciplinary, bi-monthly journal aimed at all professionals working with people with dementia. It recognises that professional carers working with people with dementia have their own special demands which deserve a specialist publication.

Here’s the contents page from the latest edition, take a look and if you’re interested in any of the articles, check the bottom of the post.

Unlocking diagnosis, p. 12, Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, writes in response to Martin Brunet’s recent article in JDC, and argues that case finding will open the door to treatment and support. A response from Martin Brunet follows.

Creative spaces: a growing project, p. 13, Wendy Brewin enthuses about the many benefits arising from a project which began to develop a new garden in a care home – but grew into something so much more.

Developing a CST service in Norfolk, p. 15, Sarah Purdy and Gemma Ridel describe efforts to develop a consistent provision of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy programmes across one NHS Trust.

A bright future for innovative day support, p. 16, Angela Downing tells the inspiring story of the work involved in developing innovative day activities in Cornwall.

Tom’s Clubs: time together, p. 18, Kayleigh Orr, Julia Botsford and Kaye Efstathiou explain how this joint service for people with dementia and carers has developed.

Improving environments: new tools for the job, p. 20, Abigial Masterson, Sarah Waller and Maxine Grisley explain how a new set of tools to improve care environments has been developed, tested and put to good use.

Good prescribing in dementia: a brief guide, p. 23, Daniel Harwood explains how certain medications prescrived for older people are especially likely to cause troubling side effects for people with dementia.

Religious communities: what can they offer? p. 26, Peter Kevern and Mandy Walker report on the results of a small study which explored the role that the Anglican church community can play in supporting people with dementia.

Eden: how to bring meaning and freedom back into life, p. 29, Care staff tell Rachael Doeg what the Eden Alternative means to them, and UK co-ordinator Jane Burgess explains more.

Counselling in dementia: eliciting memories, p. 32, Mike Fox explains how counsellors can play an important role in helping people with dementia to remember their past.

Short reports, p. 34

  1. Attachment styles and attachment needs in people with dementia and family carers
  2. Predictive validity of the ACE-R and RBANs for the diagnosis of dementia

How do I access these articles?

Journal: The Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Vol 2 No 3, June/July 2013

AJDC_coverThe Australian Journal of Dementia Care is a multidisciplinary journal for all professional staff working with people with dementia, in hospitals, nursing and residential care homes, day units and the community. The journal is committed to improving the quality of care provided for people with dementia, by keeping readers abreast of news and views, research, developments, practice and training issues.

Again, I’ve included the contents page for your review.

Summit highlights needs of younger people with dementia, p. 9, Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Glenn Rees reports on the outcome of the Younger Onset Dementia Summit and what younger people identified as priority areas for action

Photo boards create picture of life, p. 10, An easy-to-make biographical tool to share stories of people with dementia, by Paula Bain

Alive to new possibilities, p.12, Tim Lloyd-Yeates from Alive! in the UK explains how to make best use of iPad technology when facilitating reminiscence sessions with people with dementia

Dementia as a roller-coaster, p.14, In the second of a series of books that have influenced his understanding of dementia, John Killick explains the impact of Christine Bryden’s book Who will I be when I die?

Sensory towels give mealtimes a lift, p.15, Jo Bozin explains how a simple award-winning aromatherapy program has improved the mealtime experience for residents and staff in one Melbourne facility

Strategies to improve the hospital journey, p.16, Geriatrician Clair Langford describes the complexities and challenges of providing hospital care for people with dementia and some of the strategies that can be used to reduce the length of hospital stays, improve the patient journey and, in some cases, avoid admission altogether

Bringing dementia design to acute hospital planning, p.20, Leanne Morton and Carol Callaghan report on the experience of bringing the principles of environmental design for people with dementia to the planning of an acute public hospital in NSW

Home alone with dementia, p.22, Living alone with dementia is not impossible, but carries with it the need for specialised services to support a potentially vulnerable but fiercely independent community. James Baldwin, Kylie Sait and Brendan Moore explain

‘Once you start writing, you remember more’, p.25, Liz Young, Jo Howard and Kate Keetch enthuse about ‘life writing’ work with people with dementia

The use of doll therapy to help improve well-being, p.25, Leah Bisiani and Jocelyn Angus discuss the role of doll therapy in working with people with dementia, and how it can be incorporated into a person’s present reality with dignity and respect

How to achieve effective, intuitive communication, p.31, Trevor Mumby outlines the ways in which we commonly miscommunicate, and shows effective communication methods for working with people with dementia

Sexualities and dementia: resources for professionals, p.34, Based on national and international literature and research by Dr Cindy Jones form Griffith University’s Centre for Health Practice Innovation, the Sexualities and Dementia – Education Resource for Health Professionals guide in the first of it’s kind in Australia.

The view from here: creating momentum for positive change, p.36, Kate Nayton, Elaine Fielding and Elizabeth Beattie describe how they developed a successful program to educate hospital staff about dementia care.

Research news section, p. 38, Includes articles on Montessori-based intervention for people with dementia. Italian-Australians’ experience of dementia caregiving. Carer beliefs about day centres and respite programs. Humour therapy found to reduce agitation in nursing homes. Psychological interventions for carers of people with dementia: a systematic review of quantitative and qualitative evidence.

How do I access these articles?

Book: Alzheimer’s: A Love Story, V. Ulman

I’m reading this book at the moment and it is an utterly truthful personal account of a daughter and sometimes-carer’s experience with Alzheimer’s.  When the last of Vivienne Ulman’s four children left home, she and her husband were poised to enjoy their freedom. Then, her mother’s Alzheimer’s intervened.

alzheimersLoveStoryIn Alzheimer’s: A Love Story, Ulman records with tender lyricism and searing honesty the progress of her mother’s Alzheimer’s, her own grief over the gradual loss of her beloved mother, and the way in which her parents’ enduring love for each other sustained them.

Into this she weaves an account of her family’s history, in particular her father’s rise from farm boy to confidant of prime ministers – achievements made possible by the loving strength of the woman by his side. In a reversal of roles, he amply returned this support.

This inspiring Australian story is a tale for the sandwich generation, squeezed on one side by concern for their children and on the other by anxiety about their parents. It is about illness, grief, and hardship, but it is also about love, determination, and joy.

Book: Connecting Through Music with People with Dementia: A Guide for Caregivers, R. Rio

ConnectingThruMusicFor people with dementia, the world can become a lonely and isolated place. Music has long been a vital instrument in transcending cognitive issues; bringing people together, and allowing a person to live in the moment. This user-friendly book demonstrates how even simple sounds and movements can engage people with dementia, promoting relaxation and enjoyment. All that’s needed to succeed is a love of music, and a desire to gain greater communication and more meaningful interaction with people with dementia. Even those who have lost many social and intellectual capabilities will still enjoy connecting with others through voice and rhythm, and be able to involve themselves in musical dialogue. Suitable for students or entry level professionals in music therapy, nursing, therapeutic recreation and care-related fields, Connecting Through Music with People with Dementia will also appeal to volunteers and family members caring for a person with dementia.

Website: Alzheimer’s Australia Vic Services

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic has a range of services which can be really useful for carers seeking for new ways to connect with a person with dementia.  As well as our National Dementia Helpline, we offer Counselling and Support, Telephone Outreach Programs, Support Groups, Living with Memory Loss Programs, Services for People with Younger Onset Dementia, Memory Lane Cafe’s, Multicultural Services, Education and Training for Families and Carers, Dementia Behavior Management Advisory Service. Check out the webpage for more information on each service.

Book: The 36-hour Day, N. L. Mace and P. V. Rabins

36hrdayThe 36-hour day is the definitive guide for people caring for someone with dementia. The new and updated edition of this best-selling book features thoroughly revised information on the causes of dementia, managing the early stages of dementia, the prevention of dementia, and finding appropriate living arrangements for the person who has dementia when home care is no longer an option.

Remember Me, Mrs V?: Caring for my wife: her Alzheimer’s and others’ stories, T. Valenta

MrsVBigA moving memoir of a husband caring for his wife, Marie, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 54. Tom describes his struggle of looking after his wife, arranging professional and voluntary in-home support and continuing to work. Ultimately he is forced to seek permanent residential care for Marie. There are thirteen cameos of other carers and how they dealt with a family member who was stricken with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. This book will be of great assistance to all men and women caring for a loved one.