Those familiar with his Facing the Future series of three books (with a fourth on the way) will be pleased to know that Dr William A.M. Cutting has now turned his attention specifically to dementia and published Dementia: A Positive Response: Hope, help and humour on the journey (Onwards and Upwards Publishing, 2018).
With a Foreword by Louise Morse (well-known for her own books on dementia and her work for Pilgrims’ Friend Society), this book combines facts and figures with the author’s own experience of caring for his wife with dementia as well as experiences of friends and humorous anecdotes.
Louise Morse maintains that the best treatment for people with dementia is the quality of care they receive. Dr Cutting spells out just how care might be delivered in ways which enhance the lives of those living with the condition.
There’s a chapter on ‘Practical Strategies for the Major Symptoms’ and another on ‘Practical Steps to Cope with Dementia’ which covers visiting, communicating, the importance of involvement in activities, medical interventions and treatments.
Of special note for chaplains and others involved in ministry among people with dementia will be his chapter on ‘Spiritual Strength for the Dementia Journey’. In this, he covers foundational beliefs, remembrance, moments of ‘re-menting’ when flashes of cognition light up and carers glimpse parts of a personality that are at other times submerged. He speaks of friendship and fellowship on the spiritual journey and ways in which churches can be much more sensitive and dementia-friendly for the benefit of all the congregation.
He quotes the words of two champions of better care for people with dementia who have themselves been diagnosed. Christine Bryden writes: ‘It’s a terrible diagnosis to have, but think positively… I really believe there’s new life to be lived in the slow lane of dementia.’
The writer Jennifer Bute, a former GP also living with dementia, endorses the book, calling it ‘superb, positive and covers just about every aspect of dementia in a way that is easily understood. It is interspersed with delightful drawings, amusing pieces and personal stories. He has drawn together much that is helpful from many sources. This book should be a great encouragement and valuable resource for many.’
Bute is a contributor to The Gift of Years Bible Reflections for Older People and Dr Cutting picks out a particular insight she gave readers of the reflections: ‘Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. I see my dementia as an unexpected gift from God. Like pain, it’s not comfortable, but I believe it is a great privilege for me to understand it from the inside. It has enriched my life. I ask God to help me rejoice in adversity. Others see my joy. Now, living in a dementia-friendly village, I am able to walk this path with many others and encourage them to find God’s love.’ (Bible Reflections for Older People, April 2017).
‘In Lighter Mode’ sections herald a host of what he himself admits are ‘corny jokes’ and aphorisms, among which is the advice:
‘Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine’ (George Gordon Byron).
This title can be ordered from Amazon