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What Dementia Teaches Us About Love
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Nicci Gerrard
What Dementia Teaches Us About Love by Nicci Gerrard at Abbey's Bookshop,

What Dementia Teaches Us About Love

Nicci Gerrard


Allen Lane

Illness & addiction: social aspects;
Social discrimination;
Ethical issues: euthanasia & right to die;
Sociology: family & relationships;
Coping with illness


272 pages

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Dementia is an unmaking, a de-creation - an apocalypse of meaning. Since my father's slow-motion dying, and his actual death in November 2014, I have been much preoccupied with dementia- by those who have it, by those who look after them, by the hospital wards whose beds are occupied almost entirely by men and women in advanced stages of this self-loss, by the way society deals with it or denies it, by the science of it, the art and literature about it, the philosophy, by what it means to be human, to have an identity, to have a self. What is it to be oneself, and what is it to lose one's self. Who are we when we are not ourselves, and where do we go?

This is a book about dementia - not a personal account, of which there are many moving and excellent ones, but an exploration, structured around the stages of the disease, this radically-slowed death. These stages - which echo the stages of grief, of course, recognising the bereavement implicit in dementia both for the person who lives with the condition and those who love them - will explore dementia from the outside and, as far as possible, from the inside as well. Full of people's stories, both sad and optimistic, it is a journey into the dusk and then the darkness - and then out on to the other side, where, once someone is dead, a life can be seen whole again.

By:   Nicci Gerrard
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 222mm,  Width: 144mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   392g
ISBN:   9780241347454
ISBN 10:   0241347459
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   March 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

As well as being a novelist, Nicci Gerrard is a journalist, a campaigner and a humanist celebrant. In 2016 she won the Orwell Prize for Journalism, for 'Exposing Britain's Social Evils', for a piece exploring the 'language' of dementia. Following her father's terrible final year and his death in November 2014, she and her friend Julia Jones founded John's Campaign, which insists that the carers of people with dementia have the same right as parents of sick children to accompany them when in hospital. The campaign, which seeks to make care for those who are vulnerable and powerless more compassionate, began in a kitchen but is now a national movement, recognised by NHS policy makers, by charities, by nurses and doctors and carers. Four hundred hospitals have already signed up to the campaign.

Nicci Gerrard writes with power, insight, empathy and extraordinary beauty about the world of dementia . . . and demonstrates how we can address the fear, despair and ignorance that has accompanied its spread -- Paul Webster * editor of the Observer * Nicci Gerrard exudes understanding of the breadth, scale and complexity of the dementias and the challenges they pose for society. Yet she communicates simply, personally and practically as if speaking individually to each of us -- Sebastian Crutch * Professor of Neuropsychology, Dementia Research Centre, University College London * Gerrard writes beautifully, encyclopaedically and with humanity -- Nicholas Timmins * senior fellow at the Institute for Government and the King's Fund, honorary fellow of Royal College of Physicians, author of Five Giants * Evocative and powerful, shining a light on a world which is often hidden and misunderstood * Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England * This is a tender, lyrical, profound, urgent book . . . Gerrard has penned a treatise on what it is to be human -- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown * columnist and author * Gerrard ranges widely and wisely, raising questions about what it is to be human and facing truths too deep for tears * Blake Morrison, poet and author of And When Did You Last See Your Father? * Nobody has written on dementia as well as Nicci Gerrard in this new book. Kind, knowing and infinitely useful -- Andrew Marr Essential reading about love, life and care -- Kate Mosse * author of Labyrinth * Immensely powerful . . . an incisive and compelling read . . . [Gerrard] has an elegant yet devastating turn of phrase. * The Sunday Times *

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