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ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472146502

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A moving and beautifully illustrated book that captures the real life tales of people living with dementia, as told by their loved ones caring for them.

This humorous, heartwarming and often heartbreaking collection will be relatable and supportive for anyone touched by dementia in their lives, and provides insight and information for anyone wanting to know more.

The stories reflect on: the impact of receiving a diagnosis, the importance of person-centred care and social inclusion; the power of meaningful engagement, partnerships, peer support and much, much more.


The word or feeling that most strongly comes across from the book is 'heart'; there are moments of anguish and sadness, alongside stories of deep love and compassion. And that is how it is, this journey with dementia; it seems to touch every emotion but has that unique power to connect us all in some way. The stories are expressed with such sensitivity, warmth and humanity through a combination of word and image. They capture some of the issues that, as an occupational therapist, I saw time and time again: conflicting emotions, intense and beautiful relationships, the importance of good communication, the difficulty navigating what support is available, the need to connect with others in a similar situation ... I think this book will be an immensely helpful source of support to those caring for loved ones living with dementia. It has such universal appeal; I'd like to see it being made available to carers of those recently diagnosed with dementia, to schoolchildren, health and care students - everyone should read it!
Carrie Clarke, retired NHS occupational therapist (dementia services)
As a former carer myself, I know that nothing impacts quite as much as reading about the lived experience of those caring for a loved one with dementia. The fact that all the stories not only showcase, sensitively, the challenges and issues surrounding a dementia diagnosis, but that they also highlight positive outcomes and illustrate practical solutions, with love, care and commitment running as a common thread through all of them, is heartwarming. The simplicity of the book in telling the carer stories is probably its greatest triumph
Sarah Merriman, head of TIDE (Together In Dementia Everyday) delivery
United is THE most beautiful and impactful piece of work. I read it with tears in my eyes, not due to sadness, but due to overwhelming relief that finally all our journeys are now clearly and lovingly explained. Gina Awad has masterly woven the stories together and it makes for a very powerful read. She is a magician and I hope that those who find this book will extract the sense of hope from it at a time when all seems quite overwhelming
Nicola Baker, daughter of Michael and Pam who both lived with dementia
It's not easy to make dementia stories digestible. This beautiful book with illustrations by Tony Husband helps to give a slice of life for carers, families and those living with the disease. A disease which will affect 1 in 3 of us. Many people get a dementia diagnosis but then fail to get help and support in understanding the disease and how it affects those living with it. And those living with it include family, friends and work colleagues. By reading stories of others with warm, light illustrations to accompany it, we get an insight into real people and real situations. It will help elucidate to those who feel isolated dealing with dementia whilst reassuring them that there are others in the same boat. It hints at what is to come but it reminds us that, for the most part, dementia doesn't rob us of everything. There is hope and unity in shared memories and experiences
Denise Wilton, daughter and carer for her father living with dementia
United is a wonderful little book about dementia, containing real stories about the condition and how it impacts relationships, all beautifully illustrated with care and empathy. The book is heart-breaking and poignant, revealing the devastation that this progressive, neurodegenerative and incurable condition brings to families. It is also informative and uplifting, with tips on how to help those with dementia and those who provide care, from medication to music to respite care, bringing hope and sometimes moments of joy. Overall, it is a moving book about love, care and connection
Professor Victoria Tischler, University of Exeter
When dementia comes into your family, it changes life forever. This book, with its wonderful illustrations, is a helpful reminder that we are not alone. There are so many stories of people struggling along, trying to find some light even in the darkest of times. We should be proud as carers and people living with dementia that we are somehow muddling though. I hope this book raises awareness of all our journeys, all different but somehow connected
Suzy Webster, daughter and carer of her mum Barbara, diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2012
We make sense of our lives using interlocking stories. In this book, Gina Awad has captured a series of vignettes, sharing stories of the lives of people living with dementia and their families. Sympathetically and extensively supported with illustrations by Tony Husband, United all too clearly demonstrates the hopes, fears, frustrations and disappointments and alerts us so clearly to the impact dementia has on the lives of so many people
Dr David Kernick, GP
The beauty of this book is in part due to the illustrations, which capture your interest and imagination effortlessly, and in part due to the very real, very honest and heart-touching stories shared within the pages. Each story offers the reader so much: a different window through which to view the realities of life with dementia, from the highs to the lows, from the creative use of technology and the evident love to the struggles and challenges that are all too familiar. This book really does illustrate perfectly how if you love someone living with dementia, you are living with it too
Vic Lyons, Dementia UK
This delightful and empowering book highlights how each person with dementia and their loved ones experience their own individual dementia encounter. It is a thought-provoking read and offers readers with no experience of dementia the opportunity to enter into the dementia world. For those that may have experience but struggle in a caring role, it offers hope and reassurance by providing practical tips and coping strategies. Each story offers a quirky person-centred approach on how to engage and bring out the best in each person by recognising their strengths and ability to see beyond their dementia diagnosis. It is a book of shared love stories, determination and adaptation by relatives in helping their loved ones have a positive experience whilst living with condition. In addition, it demonstrates the importance of how involving people with dementia to plan services in their community may continue to enhance their independence. A mesmerising read around the realities and challenges for all those affected by dementia and illustrated beautifully in cartoon form by the brilliant Tony Husband. I certainly learnt a lot
Lorraine Burgess, Macmillan dementia nurse consultant
This book is beautiful to read; it is light, informative and through its narrative and pictures, it manages to encompass so many different experiences and challenges for the person living with dementia and for the carer living with dementia. It tells of sacrifices, trials, tribulations and successes and of the wonderful resourcefulness people have to find as they manage the stresses and strains of a caring role. This book is a brilliant resource and a reminder of the need for person-centred support - whether that's for the needs of the person with dementia or their carer. It's a book you can pick up again and again and be reminded of new ways of doing things and ways to adapt to an everchanging situation. Through this type of resource, carers can learn new ways to think, behave and interact and this helps to develop ways to cope, even when life is tough
Sue Hinds, head of services, Dementia Carers Count
This lovely book brings to the life the lived experiences of people with dementia and carers. These personal stories portray the reality of living with dementia but each situation is peppered with hope, optimism and love. Gina and Tony have done a great job of bringing these day to day experiences to life so that we can all learn
Rachael Litherland, director of Innovations in Dementia
This is a must read book for anyone connected with dementia in any way. Beautifully illustrating the stories of people with dementia, their families and carers, the book is full of thoughtful insights into the opportunities and challenges of living with dementia. Dementia touches the lives of so many, for me personally caring for my mum and also having recently retired as a director of adult social services. The many different perspectives in the individual stories chimed in so many ways for me. It is an incredibly special book that will be of great help and comfort to many
Jennie Stephens MBE
A beautiful, stunning way to communicate the complexity of dementia while offering subtle tips on how we can understand how a person experiences the world and what we can do to help. United shows how life doesn't stop when someone has dementia but also stresses the importance of relationships and what has helped people, such as connecting with dementia-related charities and communities. The diversity of experience is beautifully illustrated, leaving the reader immersed in the worlds of the individuals in the book. Highly emotive, memorable and informative, a very much needed book
Dr Jane Mullins, dementia nurse specialist, author of 'Finding the Light in Dementia'
I know of no other book in the dementia field like Gina Awad's United. In seven deftly distilled life stories, each vividly illustrated to animate key moments in the narrative, Awad identifies the essential, take-home lessons of caring for a person with cognitive impairments in a variety of unique circumstances. The range of situations brought to life in United gives the reader a broad vista on different challenges posed by cognitive impairment, as well as different creative responses to those challenges. This book simultaneously instructs and inspires. In one sitting, one can gain a lifetime of insights
Michael Verde, founder of Memory Bridge USA
United is a must read for any one who has a connection with someone living with dementia and for any one who hasn't, because the more information we know, the better our world can become more inclusive. This book is written with gentleness and honesty and the illustrations are super. Humility and humour go hand in hand in this book. It is wonderful
Philippa Hodge, dementia trainer and carer
From the devastating moment of diagnosis to the years of isolation, grief and frustration, Gina Awad's book is a must-read for all those caring for someone with dementia. Wonderfully illustrated by renowned cartoonist Tony Husband, it is easy to read yet exceptionally informative. Both Awad and Husband have personal experience of this cruel condition and it shows. United: Caring For Our Loved Ones Living With Dementia is a book written with love, gentle humour and fathomless insight. I can't recommend it highly enough
Pippa Kelly, award-winning dementia campaigner, journalist and podcaster
A beautiful and moving book that vividly brings home the challenges faced by those with dementia and their carers
Sir Tony Robinson
While this book does not skirt the difficulties of living with a diagnosis of dementia, it reminds us of what is most important in all relationships: empathy, caring, understanding, love and, for our carers, support and resilience. In this short but poignant book, Gina's words and Tony's illustrations beautifully and sweetly convey all of the above. This is a moving and highly effective format for raising awareness of some of the most difficult and painful issues while constantly affirming and nurturing the personhood of the people living with dementia and their carers
Lynda Everman and Don Wendorf, PsyD, former caregivers, Alzheimer’s activists, senior editors of 'Dementia-Friendly Worship' and co-authors of 'Stolen Memories'