Book Reviews From A Carers Point of View

Book Reviews

Have you read any books that you have found helpful in your caring role?

Would you recommend them to other carers?

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Book Reviews From Carers

Finding your way: Caring for yourself while caring for someone else, by Verran Townsend, reviewed by carer Linda Shannon:

This is such a lovely, powerful book, written in a simple but enigmatic style.  It covers the period when a health issue of his wife, Karen, was first identified and as her illness progresses, Verran moves into a long-term caring role.  Their lives were no longer the ‘normal’ they were accustomed to.  As their world gradually changed, Verran came up with thought-provoking tips and coping strategies. He highlights the importance of carers having time and space for their own wellbeing to remain mentally and physically fit and provide compassionate care.

His ideas and solutions aid him in the challenges of caring towards the end of life pathway – some as simple as to cry, accept support and help offered by others. He also suggests trying to maintain some semblance of normality by finding time for hobbies, opportunities for fresh air and exercise, and not being afraid to talk about bereavement – which will resonate with all of us as carers.

This book has been published by Rippling Print and can be purchased from Amazon

Dementia From The Inside: By Dr Jennifer Bute with Louise Morse. Reviewed by Carer Ambassador Deborah Goldsworthy

This is a very good book which is helpful for the understanding of what dementia is like for the person with it. Jennifer is a GP and knew she had dementia 5 years before her diagnosis. The book covers how she kept going and doing things while at the same time giving hope to the person she is caring for.

My husband has Pseudo Dementia with short term memory loss. He told me it was like having an empty space and no matter what he tried, could not fill it. It has helped me to understand about dementia from the inside a little more. Encouraging and prompting my husband to do things. I am now taking this further. Giving up does seem to be a key factor as the person believes they cannot do it anymore! With prompting and persuasion It is amazing what can be achieved. Adapting the way things are done and the way you do them can make a real difference.

Contented Dementia by Oliver James, reviewed by Carer Ambassador Deborah Goldsworthy

This is book is a Sunday Times best seller. Others who are living with people with dementia may it useful too. I took the book on the train with me I had put the book away, but a lady when getting off the train encouraged me to keep reading it and that it was a very good book. It would also be hard going but keep going. She had a family member she cared for at the time of reading her book. But now had the knowledge to share with others!

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, reviewed by carer Sall Baker

I’d only read one previous book that included caring and it touched on the emotional side so perfectly I was doubtful anything else could live up to it but this book was surprisingly good for my high standards.

It predominately revolves around the mystery of two missing women I am particularly pleased that the book touched on the issue of having to trust strangers to be carers and how easy it is for that to go wrong and the cared for to be taken advantage. Whilst caring features heavily the book is predominately about the mystery of the missing women…Elizabeth, Maud’s friend and her sister Sukey.

I found the location of “missing Elizabeth” predictable but the mystery of Sukey was well written. Throughout the book though I was longing for someone to make more effort to understand Maud and what she was trying to recollect because although the clues were not clear they were there, if the reader could see past the Dementia. Maud may have forgotten where Elizabeth was but it was clear she hadn’t lost her ability to be a friend…she cared and needed to know her friend was safe. A good read for anyone who loves a mystery.

Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring: Penny Wincer (2020). Review by Jane Taylor – Carer Ambassador

This is a lovely book, principally if you are either a parent looking after a child with ASD, ADHD, learning difficulties etc. or a young teenage/adult carer looking after a parent with Mental Health challenges. In respect to both of these topics the Author draws on her own experience and provides exceptional insight into the challenges, sadness and joys that this can bring (covering about 70% of the book).


However, it is worth noting that I felt the book was of limited use to anyone looking after either an elderly parent/spouse with say, dementia, or neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s, MND etc. I felt the book did not capture factors in these scenarios. There are brief examples e.g. of young adult carers looking after their Mum with Huntington’s, and a young wife whose husband was left with major disabilities after a stroke. As I too look after my husband, I could relate to the impact of caring on her, and her life expectations – but this was a brief interlude within the book.


I must mention the final chapters on self-compassion, and looking after yourself provided some useful summaries of techniques. There is also a wonderful piece at the start about the impact of Covid-19 on all Carers, and within the book the author’s insightful reflections on societal views of disability are spot-on. I also would say I felt the quote at the beginning of Chapter One (from Elizabeth Gilbert) captured the essence of Caring in a nutshell; it was so refreshing to see someone ‘say it as it is’. Overall undoubtedly a book written from the heart but possibly more useful to parent Carers’ than other groups.


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