February 6, 2015
In 2011, my book ‘Chocolate Rain’ was published by Hawker Publications, UK. It has been received well and has steadily found its way into the hands of more and more relatives, carers and professionals who work with people with dementia.
Last month I received wonderful news, my book had sold out of the first printing and is being reprinted because it had been chosen along with 24 others as part of Reading Well’s Book Prescription list for Dementia! I went to the official launch while I was in London, met a few friends there, John Killick and Richard Hawkins to name two, and was inspired to learn more about this initiative.
Reading well is a health initiative of the Reading Agency, a non profit that encourages people to read more. Their Books on Subscription project is brilliant in its simplicity. They team up with libraries, health professionals, and health organisations to make self-help books on common health problems widely available through libraries.
At the launch I was most impressed by the transdisciplinary collaboration that makes this project possible. Reading Well’s Book prescription list for Dementia is actively promoted by the Society of Chief Librarians, partly sponsored by the Arts Council England, and works closely with health organisations like the Alzheimer Association. The combined efforts of all of these bodies make general health information, in this case information about dementia, low threshold and easily available to everyone through their local public library. Particularly cool, I find, is that doctors and other professionals (therapists, social workers, etc) can prescribe these books to their patients so that they can become more empowered by becoming informed about their-, or a relative’s condition.
Last year the books were available in 95% of all the libraries in the UK.
In its first year, the scheme reached 275,000 people with accredited self-help reading, helping people to understand and manage common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Library issues of titles on the core book list have increased by 113% and around 7,000 health professionals are using the scheme on a regular basis to recommend books.
What it means for me and the other 24 authors, is that our books will get a huge boost in getting out to where they are needed. Last year’s book saw large sales increases as well, which is only good news to anyone who relies in part on royalties for their income.
My book is an activity/support for carers book, additionally there are books on Living well with dementia, including, ‘Dementia Positive’ by John Killick, Luath Press. In the category, Support for relatives and carers, Graham Stoke’s much lauded,’And still the music plays’, published by Hawker. And in Personal stories, ‘The little girl in the radiator: mum, Alzheimer’s and me’ by Martin Slevin, (Monday books).
‘Chocolate Rain’ is available at the many Dementia and Care congresses organised by Hawker publications in the UK. And on line from Book depository, Amazon uk, etc., and directly from Hawker publications.
November 26, 2011
I haven’t posted in awhile because of uncharacteristic busyness as well as being away for a week.
October 29, 2011
Last Monday, October 24th, my buddy Jan Krol and I gave 3 workshops at the 2nd Art and Dementia conference in Eindhoven, Holland. For Dutch readers here is the link . It was a wonderful, well attended event and the responses to our workshop were very positive. We did a hands-on art exercise, role play, small group work, had a creative approach discussion, and sewed the handouts (excerpts from Chocolate Rain) into a pamphlet book. This all had to fit in exactly 60 minutes. There were 25 people in each group and we had three groups in the course of the day.
People especially responded to the role play that Jan (in Holland Jan is a man’s name pronounced, Yan) and I did. Jan played a person with dementia, and I, an overactive pushy activity organiser. I barge into the room talking on my cell phone, don’t greet Jan, and more less push the activity I’ve been preparing for him for days under his nose. He isn’t having any of it and sits apathetically at one point picking his nose quite explicitly. I get more and more frustrated, and though there were a lot of laughs, and this was an exaggerated depiction, people recognized the situation. Then we invite participants to come up and act out a better way to engage the person.
Home again, recovering from a cold, I now have less than 2 weeks before I leave for Scotland to get illustrations ready for a DVD I’m working on with my friend Alicia from Glasgow. It is an e-learning course on dementia for social workers and caregivers. We’re supporting the lesson material with quirky cartoons and several video clips written by Alicia, in which she and I will be acting. This time I will have the part of Mary, a 67 year old lady in various stages of dementia.
After I come back from Scotland, hopefully I’ll have a few weeks to rest before the harpsichord case is delivered from Germany. Then it will be a feast of flower painting which I will record and post here as it progresses. Johan Hofmann (Dutch language site), my client for this project has some fresh ideas about the painting and colour scheme, so this instrument, while staying within the tradition of 17th century Flemish Ruckers harpsichords will also be gently declaring its own modern identity. The craftsman in me doesn’t mind doing one after another of the same kind of paintings, but the artist wants growth and exploration. So both will be fed with this commission.
I hadn’t had time to get to my oil painting in the last week, but am looking forward to getting back in the studio.
August 27, 2011
Entering her living room in Edinburgh is like coming into an Aladdin’s cave of treasure. Everywhere are textile projects in process. The walls are painted in rich colours and her knitted, crocheted, and woven blankets glow with the colour of the moors: sky blues and slates, moss greens, lichen rusts and ochres, heather purples and pinks. Most of these are also my colours, I realize, but the way she combines them gives me a new slant. There is less ‘air’ between her combinations, making a dense impression of tapestry or richly clad yurts, far away in some African desert.
March 25, 2011
Click here Introduction to look inside and read the introduction.
There have been various availability problems primarily for people in the US who want to buy my book. I am happy to say that book depository now carries ‘Chocolate Rain, 100 ideas for a creative approach to activities in dementia care’. They ship all over the world for free! And they are a good, reliable business, we order books there regularly.
December 5, 2010
Now that I have your attention! 🙂 I’ve recently returned from the book launch at the 5th UK Dementia Congress in Bournemouth. It was a wonderful and inspiring event with impassioned speakers and an atmosphere of cooperation and support. Next year’s congress is in Liverpool, I highly recommend it. Keep an eye on this blog for further information.
Hawker Publications launched two new books this year: my book ,’ Chocolate Rain’, and ‘Dementia and sexuality’ by Elaine White.
Friends quipped that it was a tough choice to make- Sex or Chocolate!
Karen Borochowitz pictured above is the Executive director of Dementia SA and was my first customer. Most people who heard about the book during the plenaries came to look at it and once they had it in their hands, seemed to want to take it with them. It was very heartening to see how the colour, design and illustrations invited people to look further and eventually take one home.
One delegate came up to me during the signing and said he’d gone back to the hotel tired after a day of lectures, and just wanted to take a glimpse inside it. It was an hour before he looked up and realised he’d read about half the book.
As well the book going to South Africa, England, Scotland, and Ireland- it was taken to Singapore by two charming women,Yan Ling and Helen, as an inspiration for their new Mental health education programme for carers of people with dementia. Good luck ladies!
Friends are ordering copies for libraries in the US and Australia. And heads of nursing homes and care services throughout the UK are ordering batches for their activity organisers. Friends from the congress said, ‘everyone was talking about it’.
Waterstones has it listed, though we need to supply more material. And I wouldn’t recommend ordering from there if you are outside England, a friend in the US has had no end of delays in getting his copy- even after it was dispatched they said it would be another 21 days! Amazon UK has it, and the Central London Library was promising to order one. It can be ordered directly from Hawker Publications as well.
So basically I am home, recuperating from the last push on the book. Next step is finding a Dutch publisher.