Review from English Teaching professional 95
"This is a handbook for carers with English as a second language who work with dementia patients in an English-speaking care system. It is written from the perspective of the UK, where many carers are not native speakers of English. Communication with dementia patients is not easy at the best of times, and is made even more difficult if carer and patient don’t share the same language. This book attempts to address this issue by presenting the current thinking on person-centred dementia care and, at the same time, offering help with the vocabulary that carers will need, together with examples of sentences that are appropriate to use with patients in a variety of situations. The focus is on good day-to-day communication skills and promoting positive interaction between patients and carers.
Unfortunately, many people for whom this book would be a useful resource may not get past the rather depressing sepia cover. Also, the fact that the book is intended for carers with English as a second language is hidden in the subtitle, which is not very eye-catching.
Having a parent in a care home myself, I found this book to be extremely useful because it is full of information on dementia, explains very clearly and sensitively the problems and issues that arise with this condition and offers good advice about how to deal with them. There is an admirable focus on helping preserve the dignity of the patients, emphasising their strengths rather than their weaknesses and accepting and honouring their reality, even when it is not your own. There is no doubt that the author knows her stuff when it comes to dementia care, and it is really good that she includes the voices of dementia sufferers themselves, who are able to articulate what their experience is like, what they find helpful and how they like to be treated.
That said, I was a little less convinced by the approach to English language teaching, which is one of the aims of the book. I feel that what is needed is a little more than lists of relevant vocabulary to translate and some, admittedly extremely useful, sentences that could be used. Having witnessed first-hand the communication difficulties carers from other countries can experience, I would say that some kind of listening component, involving examples of conversations with patients and giving opportunities for pronunciation practice, would be absolutely crucial in a book of this kind.
This book goes a long way towards helping carers in the dementia field, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I feel, however, that there is another book waiting to be written, equally well-grounded from the social care perspective, but also informed by ELT methodology and practice."