I am pleased to ‘report’ that I have now read ‘Turn of Mind’ by Alice LaPlante and would highly recommend it as both a great read and as a way to further understand dementia. A definite page turner and written beautifully, with the flow of the writing resembling that of the flitting mind of a dementia sufferer. For me her observations were highly accurate of how I imagine my mother’s brain is also working, although I still question as to how true is our interpretation of what a dementia sufferer thinks – as is it possible to know?
There were a few examples that resonated particularly with me. One of which was a visit to the hairdressers – firstly the character asks what is a hairdresser and then her hair is ‘shorn like a sheep’, whilst remembering that she was always complimented for its thickness. How bewildering for someone to make the decision for you to have your hair cut…..
Another observation was the seemingly endless trail of people that are in your life – all your best friends and a different person each day. I relate this to the number of carers that are in my mother’s life – most of whom she knows but it must be confusing that the new ones that come take the position of being very friendly and familiar immediately – which is correct, but not how ‘friendships’ work in a normal world. Lastly I felt LaPlante described well how clever the brain is at mimicking the assumed emotional response to a situation. My mother is unable to speak properly at all, however on a good day when you’re speaking to her she still has the ability to appear to nod and murmur at the appropriate moment, when it is clear that she really won’t have understand what is being said or asked of her.
Definitely well worth a read…..