Sir Terry Pratchett Featured in Newsletter 4
Irene Mackay’s Fourth Elliegrams Newsletter
Raising Children’s Awareness of Dementia
Welcome to my Elliegrams Newsletter, named after Ellie, the main character in my book The Forgetful Elephant.The Forgetful Elephant story raises children’s awareness of dementia. The book is available on my website www.irenemackay.comIn this monthly newsletter I will share information and insights from around the world, to help us all cope better with dementia.
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS IN LATE STAGE DEMENTIA
My Mum was taken to hospital at the beginning of July. Since then many thoughts have been going through my mind. It is so difficult to see a loved one deteriorate with dementia, and even harder to cope with when they no longer recognise you.
What was most upsetting for me is the fact that she was removed from the familiar surroundings of her Care Home, and could not see the friendly faces of her Carers every day. She was placed in an isolated room in hospital where she did not have much interaction with others, and was surrounded by strangers, and an unfamiliar routine.
I wish I knew what was going through her head as she lay there looking so frightened. All I could do was talk to her, explain that she is in hospital, and reassure her that she is with lovely people who are looking after her and that she shouldn’t worry about anything.
In hospital she was barely eating or drinking and was being given fluids via sub-cut, which Care Homes do not provide. If they did, she could have returned to the place she has known as “home” for the past 3 years and to the people she has come to see as her “family”. Who knows, she may even have started to eat and drink again.
If I had a magic wand and pots of money I would make it possible for Care Homes to be equipped to provide this level of care, and to have some sort of facility whereby people with dementia can be looked after in times such as these without moving them elsewhere. It is traumatic enough that their condition is deteriorating, without making things any harder for them in unfamiliar surroundings.
SIR TERRY PRATCHETT, OBE
English Author of the Discworld Novels
Terry Pratchett is a hugely successful author of fantasy novels, notably the Discworld series. He was born on 28 April 1948 in Buckinghamshire, England, and showed an interest in astronomy from an early age – he has an observatory in his garden. He read the works of HG Wells, and attended science fiction conventions as a teenager. The direction Pratchett’s career would take was shown when his short story The Hades Business was published commercially – he was 15 years old at the time.
Pratchett held several jobs in journalism before his breakthrough came with publication of The Carpet People in 1968, to favourable reviews. The Dark Side of the Sun and Stratafollowed.
His writing has a distinctive style of comic cultural and historical parody, with punning wordplay. He maintains that strong self-discipline is necessary for a writer to hone his craft. For Pratchett, the self-imposed dedication to his craft has been hugely rewarding. TheDiscworld series, together with his other writings have brought him the level of success enjoyed by the likes of JK Rowling and John Grisham. Pratchett however, is refreshingly unimpressed by material success, and considers it a by-product of his efforts.
In December 2007 Terry Pratchett announced that damage to the right side of his brain was not due to a stroke, as had been thought, but to a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s, posterior cortical atrophy, causing areas at the back of the brain to shrink. Following the diagnosis, Pratchett strives to remain as cheerful and upbeat as possible, hoping he “has a few more books” in him, donating one million US dollars to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust in 2008, and regularly speaking about the condition at interviews and conferences.May he be an inspiration to us all.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
by Jessica Shepherd
Read the review of Grandma HERE
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
Norman ‘Norrms’ McNamarra
Read my interview with Norman HERE
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Never get tired of doing little things for others,
Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest parts of their hearts.”
THE FORGETFUL ELEPHANT 3rd Edition
This month will see the publication of the 3rd print edition of my book, which I am very excited about.
My wonderful illustrator Barbara Dessi has produced an additional set of amazing and beautiful illustrations to complement the original ones. Now with images on every page, this will make the book much more colourful, and bring it to life. Here is a sample of one of the vignettes which will feature in the new edition.I will let you know when the new edition is published.
I am delighted to announce that Alzheimer Slovenia would like to translate my book into Slovenian for use in their Raising Awareness Campaign. It would be wonderful if I could go there in person to share my knowledge and experience with them of doing interactive Ellie Sessions, explaining dementia to young children using my book, The Forgetful Elephant.
I hope the free tips booklet you received when you subscribed to this newsletter was useful to you, or to someone you know who needs some help and support, to help cope with living with dementia.Please share your ideas how we can work together to raise children’s awareness of dementia.I welcome all suggestions and ideas, to help improve quality of life for people with dementia, and their families.Wishing you happy days,