Contented Dementia, By Oliver James

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The Independent Culture

This book should be available on the NHS to anyone who has a loved one suffering from dementia. Dealing with a parent or grandparent with dementia is a distressing experience for all concerned, as I know from personal experience, but Oliver James shows how to minimise that distress and manage the dementia in ways that recall early pioneering work on dealing with madness.

Early 19th-century remedies got lost in the institutionalisation of mental illness that came later, but once upon a time were all about providing comfort and reassurance for those suffering delusions or depressions. James takes the same course, recommending ways in which we can emphasise areas in the dementia sufferer's life where he or she felt confident and strong.

He writes clearly and plainly, gives good examples of the techniques he suggests, and stays always on the practical side. I expected this book to be depressing; it is exactly the opposite and it's currently doing the rounds of my entire family.