What’s in the book? 

There have been many books on dementia written for professional workers or for relatives and carers. What has been missing up to now, and what has clearly been needed, is a book written for the person who is worrying about the causes of their difficulties, and what they can do about them. This book explains what dementia is, and how the problems it causes can be tackled. This is the first self-help manual specifically written for older people worried about memory difficulties and/or diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia. Areas covered include detailed explanations of the physical and psychological conditions that mimic dementia; signs and types of dementia; and the varieties of memory. The book then moves onto its main themes: the need of minimising denial if we are to work on difficulties pacing one’s life to maximise enjoyment and minimise failure experiences the importance of strong social networks in which to give and   receive  support and help developing strategies to cope with anxiety and to problem solve maintaining a healthy life-style It then considers how best to handle changes in family dynamics, the process and pros and cons of being assessed for  ?dementia; and building support and pressure groups. The reader will be encouraged to take an active and a proactive stance towards their difficulties; and will be taught a problem-defining and problem-solving cycle. It explains in detail coping strategies with which to tackle practical and emotional problems.  For many years I was a Consultant Clinical Psychologist specialising in working with  older adults. I researched and published extensively in the field of dementia, for example Understanding Dementia: The Man with the Worried Eyes, with Rik Cheston, now Professor of Dementia Research at the University of the West of England in Bristol. This book stresses the need for the person with cognitive difficulties to make themselves part of a network or team that aims to solve, or minimise, the many problems that come with being old in Britain today. I followed the same model by meeting regularly with a team of experts in various aspects of old age - a physician of old age medicine, a psychiatric nurse, an occupational therapist and a bereavement worker. Older people are faced with lots of problems, some of which will be made more difficult by the presence of troubles with your memory.  I called on over twenty specialists across the relevant disciplines, so that each chapter has been double-checked for coverage and accuracy. This book combines two main aims that I had all my working life as a psychologist: to empower older people to improve their quality of their lives; and to give older people not just a kitbag of useful techniques, but also to offer them a structure within which to understand being old and having problems in this country. The reader will be encouraged to see their cognitive difficulties as only one of the problems that comes with advancing age, and one that it should not be allowed to domin- ate their lives. Readers are offered “work sheets” in order for them to become familiar and comfortable with the concepts and advice being given, and able to integrate them into their daily life. The book has beene written and produced so as to be optimally user-friendly  for the older reader, so each chapter is directed at the client, and written so that it explains psychological processes as clearly as possible. It has 35 short, focussed chapters, each chapter usually no more than six pages long. By using spiral binding, the book will stay flat at the page the reader has chosen. The nine different parts of the book are separated by different coloured inserts, to allow for easy access.  For frequent use, the book is sturdily bound in laminated covers to allow frequent use and  is printed on good quality paper.  The  book is pleasant to look at, hold and use, indicating the author’s valuing of the reader and their experience. This is a book that every older person worrying about their memory should buy. So should their relatives who want advice on how to really help.