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Book Review

Keeping Mum: Caring for someone with dementia by Marianne Talbot

Marianne TalboBooks about out caring for a person with dementia come in many different forms, as demonstrated by Keeping Mum. If you are looking for a systematic guide to each and every aspect of dementia then this book is not for you. However, if you are seeking an honest 'warts and all' guide to the challenges of caring at home, this is it.

Based on the fortnightly Saga website blog that Marianne Talbot produced while caring for her mother with Alzheimer's, the reader travels with Marianne as she moves from caring at a distance to caring at home and finally, the move to a nursing home.

The reader is immediately engaged with Marianne and her mum, as anyone would be who is privy to a selective personal diary of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of caring for an 86-year-old lady who brought up a family and embarked on Open University studies in her 70s.

Marianne has excellent insight into her own reactions and behaviours when caring for her mother. These will be object lessons to anyone else in a similar situation.

Within its kaleidoscope of caring experiences we learn about everything from appetite, bathing and driving to music, respite and sex. Strong themes that emerge include direct payments (pros and cons), animals (cats!) and NHS continuing care.

Marianne is a determined and energetic carer. She tries every service and resource that is available from wheelchairs at railways stations to adult placements and friendly postmen!

Not everyone will agree with some strong opinions, for example she questions the value of early diagnosis. Nevertheless each blog/entry is accompanied by individual - but usually sound - advice and recommendations which are handily summarised at the end of the book. Checklists and further resources are comprehensive and current. An index would have made the book even more accessible.

Published by Hay House (2011)
Price: £8.99; ISBN: 978 1 848502 91 8
To order, call 020 8962 1230 or buy online at www.hayhouse.co.uk
Keeping Mum should also be available in bookshops