Title: Frontline Alzheimer’s
Author: Tom Wearden
Publisher: Harina and Co, London
Reviewer: Liz Lees, clinical doctoral research fellow (NIHR), Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham
What was it like?
This book can be best described as one that eases the reader gently into the life adjustments experienced when with caring for someone (a loved one) with Alzheimer’s disease. The focus is upon Tom, husband of Margaret and “caring for Margaret at home”. The book details an eight-year period in their lives. It is presented as small accounts describing the pragmatic reality of caring for his wife throughout her deterioration in functionality; physical, social and emotional. The challenges of caring are openly explained, as are Tom’s resolutions.
What were the highlights?
Tom writes in an almost matter of fact way making this an easy read, yet it is evident that he has amassed a wealth of intuitive knowledge about a breadth of symptoms his wife experiences, from simple infections to cancer. The art of knowing and patterns of recognition is a central tenant of his ability to care for Margaret, moreover his guidance of others involved in the network of carers that support him. It is a humbling read.
Strengths & weaknesses:
It is a great pity but Tom hardly mentions “how” he copes emotionally with day to day caring, although he describes physical & psychological aspects of his own health. Grief is mentioned but only superficially explored at two points in the book. Tom asserts his decision making yet he is always considerate of Margaret’s wishes, with reference to how he knew them to be, before Alzheimer’s disease. In this area of caring, this book should provide a much needed understanding of how imperative it is to work amongst close relatives, other carers, family and how to develop person-centred approach in relationships at the centre of caring tasks.
Who should read it?
This book is an essential read for anyone considering or already working as a paid carer, or training to be nurse. I stress “paid” carer – because this indicates a choice to enter this “world”.