My first Book:
‘Lost Down Memory Lane – Caring for Alzheimer’s – A Personal Journey’ (2015 WestBow Press)
Lost Down Memory Lane is for anyone with an interest in caring, or dementia, or in family relationships.
I began writing this book almost as a diary to record the interesting things that my mother, in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, had been saying and doing. She had moved in to live with us – myself, my husband and 2 boys – 10 and 12 years of age. It was useful to me to update my sister, who had Power of Attorney, but I also found it useful to write, in order to process the emotions, memories and thoughts that were being triggered in me, whilst caring for my mum.
I decided to publish it, because, as Mum’s dementia progressed, I began to see that my experiences could support other carers. We had challenges to overcome and mostly we had no idea how to do it. There was no manual! On reflection, it would have been very useful to me to have been able to think about and talk through some of these issues in advance, so that I could have made more informed, balanced choices and not agonised so much over the decisions for which I had become responsible.
As carers, there were many issues and decisions that had to be faced. These included the social, medical, emotional, and practical issues of being a carer, as well as the beauty, the ‘funny-side’ of the effects on family dynamics.
I wanted to share this journey with other carers – to encourage, support, forewarn and empathise, and to say – “You’re not alone,” and “Be proud of the amazing job you’re doing.”
I also wanted to highlight the hope and rewards of love in this caring journey and the frequent humour – Like the time she mistook a stranger in the chip shop for one of us and chased him around the pillars, grinning “I’m going to gobble you up!”
I don’t tell you how to be a carer. I made many mistakes. But I did the best I could with the resources I found available to me.
The book points to the sort of support services which I found available to us and which made the task of caring more manageable. Some of these more practical suggestions are also condensed in the Appendix.
My mother lived over 20 years on the island of Graemsay in Orkney, in a home called ‘Clett’.
My father died there in 1995 and within a couple of years, in her early 50s, my mother – Avril – was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s.
She was cared for for many years by a gracious community in the island she loved, but eventually needed full-time care and had to be relocated to Nottingham to live with me and our family. Included among my poems are a few by a good friend to my mum and dad on Graemsay. His poems are Copyright A.R.
The book is called Lost Down Memory Lane (not just because of the play on the idiom) but because part of my own experience of switching roles and caring for my mother, was a release in me of my own lost memories and secrets, that became the trigger start of my own deeper healing journey.
“Dawn writes with great sensitivity to both the cared for and the carer. She shares her own personal journey with honesty and yet with dignity in a way that will help anyone caring for another to find ways to embrace life, despite its many and varied challenges. This book is easy to read and engaging and will bring hope and encouragement to carers walking this challenging and yet important path. It will also provide people in general with a better understanding about the issues so many face on a daily basis.“
Jo Naughton Author, International Speaker and Co-Pastor, Harvest Church London
How to purchase ‘Lost Down Memory Lane’
You can also order one from Waterstones, other major book outlets and from the library. (All Nottingham libraries stock copies)
E-books are available via Amazon and via the publisher, WestBow Press.
Soft and hard-back copies of the book are also available from the publisher –
Alternatively, buy a signed copy directly from me on eBay. Do message me an inscription you wish me to write and sign in the inside cover.
Book 2 – Coming early 2022.
Watch this space!!!