Imagine waking up tomorrow morning, confused and disorientated; feeling your life experiences slip away – welcome to the world of people living with Dementia. Dementia, not only affect the memory of the person living with the condition and their ability to make choices, but can also affect aspects of their personality.
My Mum was diagnosed with Dementia five years ago. She is currently in the stages of the condition, where her ability to communicate and make informed choices has been impaired and where she is no longer consistently able to recognise people, myself included. In short, she can often, sadly, present as someone who is barely recognisable from the person she once was. It is only when you find yourself in the position where someone you love is diagnosed with Dementia, that you are able to fully appreciate the issues that you and they are about to face.
It was during one particular visit, that I began wondering how I could find the means to help those caring for her needs to understand more about her life and spirit; to find a simple way to express more about the Mum I know, ever conscious that the Dementia should not define her.
The To Know Me books I have developed, are valuable companions for people living with Dementia and important practical resources for all those involved in their care. They provide a simple and dignified way of connecting with the person behind the condition and allowing for their personalities and preferences to shine through. Designed for the uploading of photographs and text onto beautiful pages, using bespoke software, users can create their book comprised of a mini-biography and a personalised care guide; either for themselves or on behalf of their loved one.
Through To Know Me, everyone from care practitioners to medical professionals can quickly learn more about the individual in their care: that they prefer tea to coffee; dislike certain foods or have always enjoyed spending time in the garden. They can then use this information to tailor their care to consider the person’s preferred choices; to arrange activities that acknowledge their interests and hobbies and even to alleviate any unnecessary anxiety. By virtue of the mini-biography section of the book, To Know Me is also intended as a memoir; a means of stimulating conversation with the person living with Dementia, which can sometimes be tricky, even for family and friends.
To create and order books, users download the easy to use To Know Me software, direct from the website www.toknowme.org; or alternatively users can choose to purchase a blank book, also from the website which they can complete manually.
Having worked for many years with people for whom traditional communication is complicated, I am acutely aware of the challenges associated with caring for people with complex needs. This book offers the opportunity to create an even deeper connection between carers, clients and their families; for the benefit of everyone involved.
Despite the fact that To Know Me has only been launched in the last couple of weeks, we have been delighted at the response it has received on Twitter @toknowmebooks, and the great reviews it has had from everyone who has seen it; most importantly from a colleague in the early stages of Dementia himself and a Dementia Ambassador, who has already created his own To Know Me book.
Address: To Know Me Ltd, 2 Crane House, Golford Road, Cranbrook, Kent. TN17 3NT
Tel: 07854 553980