By June Andrews Profile Books, 2015 Review by Christian Perring on Oct 20th 2015
There are is a growing number of books about dementia and the challenges that families face when a loved one has Alzheimer's or a similar neurological disorder. This one is focused on the situation in the UK, although much of the advice Andrews gives would also apply to people in other countries. But the information about the health care service is specific to the UK. June Andrews writes from a position of experience, knowing a lot about how the system works in the UK, from the National Health Service, the social services, care homes, and the complaints process.
The first part of the book, describing dementia and Alzheimer's and its effect on carers, and it is useful but standard information that is fairly easy to find elsewhere. Andrews illustrates her points with frequent vignettes from real life, which make it easier to grasp the main ideas. The discussion of the issues is useful and Andrews has plenty of good tips. It is not exhaustive, and not everyone will agree with everything she says. But certainly the advice is based on a wealth of experience and will be useful for most people.
The second part of the book will only really be useful to those living in the UK, but for them, it will be especially useful and it will be hard to find it elsewhere. Andrews has a thorough knowledge of how the NHS works and the problems that often occur. She knows the weaknesses of the system and the way it often fails those with dementia, so she knows what people should look for. She also knows how families can act to minimize the dangers to patients with Alzheimer's by acting on their behalf. Her advice about how to keep people out of hospitals, which she regards as often dangerous places for people with dementia. Her tips about identifying problems with care homes and finding ones that are a good fit for one's love one are especially useful.
So while Dementia: The One-Stop Guide has a limited potential readership, those in the UK who either have early stage dementia, or have family members with dementia will find this book essential reading. Highly recommended.