Christine Bryden was a top civil servant and single mother of three children when she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 46. Since then she has gone on to challenge almost every stereotype of people with dementia by campaigning for self-advocacy, writing articles and speaking at national conferences.
This book is a vivid account of the author's experiences of living with dementia, exploring the effects of memory problems, loss of independence, difficulties in communication and the exhaustion of coping with simple tasks. She describes how, with the support of her husband Paul, she continues to lead an active life nevertheless, and explains how professionals and carers can help.
Christine Bryden makes an outspoken attempt to change prevailing attitudes and misconceptions about the disease. Arguing for greater empowerment and respect for people with dementia as individuals, she also reflects on the importance of spirituality in her life and how it has helped her better understand who she is and who she is becoming.
Dancing with Dementia is a thoughtful exploration of how dementia challenges our ideas of personal identity and of the process of self-discovery it can bring about.
'Reading this book is a poignant, uplifting, indeed "spiritual" experience. It also raises questions, for example about the possible withdrawal of dementia-treating drugs in UK. It offers helpful guidance about communicating with people with dementia. It challenges us to ask how we might react in the face of a similar diagnosis. Most of all it will change our perceptions quite radically. The final chapter explains why Christine Bryden chose the title she did. However, readers will need to find this out for themselves!'
- Methodist Recorder
'An enthralling account of one woman's multiple journeys or as she prefers to call it her "roller coaster ride" as she confronts, endures, surmounts and learns to live with the challenges posed by her condition... [it joins] just a handful of other dementia publications which I would describe as riveting; they have dramatically extended my understanding and influenced my attitudes. I have been amazed, moved and profoundly challenged... This book is highly relevant to everyone whose lives are touched by dementia in whatever way... Christine, we thank you for your courage, and salute your persistent labour and achievements. We wish you and those you love perseverance, patience throughout the remainder of the journey and "peace at the last".'
- Journal of Dementia Care
'This book, written "from the inside", is truly inspirational whilst remaining totally realistic... This book is immensely practical. There is wonderful guidance on how to communicate with someone with dementia, and a further appendix on frequently asked questions includes such issues as "Should the person with dementia continue to drive".'
- Christian Council on Ageing
'This book is very well done. The audience is people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and their caregivers. They will benefit by reading Christine's experience. People with dementia will feel that they are not alone with their problems and caregivers will be able to see how a person with dementia feels.'
- Alzheimer Society of British Columbia
'Dancing with Dementia is a powerful account of Christine Bryden's personal journey in living with dementia, in which she continues to explore her potential despite the disabling effect of the illness. The book continually challenges stereotypes of dementia, and contains much information on how it feels to live with a condition that can often rob sufferers of dignity and respect... This is an excellent book, full of insights into the emotional, spiritual and social aspects of living with dementia, and what can be achieved if the rest of us accept that dementia is as much about abilities as disabilities.'
- Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal
'In Dancing with Dementia, Christine Bryden provides a highly personal odyssey of her 10 year journey with dementia. This inspirational book is at once a love story, an eloquent testament to the power of faith, an entreaty to think positively in the face of adversity, a challenge to complacency, and an example of successful international advocacy to include, validate and respect a person with dementia…Bryden offers herself as an example of someone who has overcome the negative stereotype of dementia. She believes that people with dementia need to create an image of who they are and who they are becoming. How they do this depends on their personality, their life story, their health, their spirituality and their social environment'
- Ageing and Society
'Christine's Writing is clear and engaging as she tells the story of her activism, initially at local then national level, and finally through her membership of Alzheimer's Disease International where she had been elected member of the board for the past two years. Along the way she has setbacks, and struggles to communicate – but the message of this book is very positive, and will repay the time you spend reading it.'
- Community Care
'The book is clear and engaging. It is written in a combination of plain English and technical terminology that has clarity, but remains non-patronising and easy to read. It challenges the way any professional in this field may view dementia and leads the way in suggesting there are positive things that people can achieve, and that there should be a focus on what the person with dementia is becoming, rather than the skills they have lost… a valuable introduction to dementia for the recently diagnosed and their families. It would also be a useful introduction to an occupational therapist new to this area of work. It is also an inspiring and motivating read for anyone working in this field.'
- College of Occupational Therapists
Preface. 1. A `Roller-coaster' journey since early 1998. 2. `Coming out' with dementia. 3. Let's talk about having dementia. 4. I know who I'll be when I die. Afterword. Appendix 1. Do you believe in miracles? Appendix 2. Frequently asked questions. Appendix 3. Where to go for help. Endnotes.