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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Having helped my Mom care for my Dad for nearly 8 years from the onset of his stroke-induced vascular dementia until his death in February 2012, I found DEMENTIA & MUM full of poignant reminders of the emotional turmoil of caring for a much-loved parent during the slow, cruel decline into dementia. The love and the guilt, the small joys and the big frustrations, are all honestly discussed in this easy-to-read and very personal story of one man's struggle to keep a promise to his Mum - to care for her to the end.

Despite the author's non-British parents, this story reflects the best of the British soul: the endurance, the community spirit, the dry English humour during even the worst of times. Fassio's day-to-day struggles with the minutia of care-giving (sleeping on the floor, washing and cleaning his Mum in the most intimate of ways, the total dedication to give her as much dignity for as long as he could), brought home to me what my Mom's experience as a carer living 24 hours with a dementia sufferer must have been like.

Reading of the ever-increasing limitations on Fassio's own life, including the loss of his friendship with Susan because of his devotion to caring for his Mum, made me realise what an essentially lonely task being a primary carer is. To be an effective carer of a loved one suffering from this horrible disease requires much personal sacrifice and strength of character.

During the last stages of my Dad's dementia, I read a few books by people in similar situations. This book draws a very real picture of the day-to-day grind of what long-term parental care involves, and the impact it has on the primary carer, be it either a son or, as in my Dad's case, a spouse (my Mom).

What makes Michael Fassio's personal journey so inspiring is how he consciously strove to remain positive throughout the long years of caregiving. The most lasting impression I have of this story is that true caring for a parent suffering from dementia is a task only made bearable when it is also love in action. And that's what makes "DEMENTIA & MUM: Who really cares?" such a delightful read despite the sad and troubled topic: it's chronicles a son's final tribute to his much-loved Mum. What a wonderful woman she must have been to inspire such devotion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2012
Looking amongst the books dealing with dementia I didn't know which one to choose. Then I checked out the reviews and decided on this one. I just couldn't put it down and read it at every free opportunity. A difficult subject for most people to deal with but if you have a family member with dementia, just get this book and read it. Frank but not at all morbid or depressing, it was a great help to me and if anything made me realise that you are not alone when dealing with this awful disease - other people have gone before you. I don't know if I could ever live up to Michael's standards - his care and devotion to his Mum was unbelievable. However,the humour and guilt sometimes shown makes you think we are all only human and it is OK to feel that occasionally. Above all, if you are at the start of 'the dementia journey', it warns you of what is likely to come, so you can prepare for the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2012
This all-encompassing, well-written memoir starts with a young woman's childhood bicycle adventures and ends with a caregiver's innermost thoughts of doubt and sacrifice. Interspersed are anecdotes and details of caregiving, funny and sad, trying and even painful at times to read. More than once I had to put the book down and step away in order to clear my head before returning. In some ways, it's like reading a soldier's story, or the story of a castaway. There are no guns or battlefields, no lonely beach heads . . . and yet the struggle for dignity, comfort and a quality of life is without relent.

Every son and daughter who faces a future of caregiving for a parent should read this book. I wish I had read it before embarking on my own struggle. I would have felt I wasn't all alone out there and that there were (and are) others who are doing the same thing, or, as in this case, doing much, much more. The truth is, most of us aren't capable of this type of emotional and physical commitment. We may not have the will or mental fortitude. We may be self-absorbed or have other pressing family or work responsibilities. Regardless of the reasons, everyone who loves and wishes the best for a parent can relate to wanting to do the job. You want to make sure your loved one's final years, months, days and hours are filled with the best life has to offer, whether it's a walk by the river, a spoonful of ice cream or just a clean bed sheet and a comfortable pillow. Who can make this happen better than a loving child? Should you leave it to someone else, or try to do it all yourself? is there a balance between the two?

In *Dementia and Mum: Who Really Cares?*, the author takes on the responsibility of caregiving almost entirely by himself. He does this while holding down several teaching jobs and handling the maintenance chores for a home and a country cottage.

*Dementia and Mum: Who Really Cares?* is a brave and heartfelt account, one that I found both inspirational and cautionary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2012
This book reads beautifully, the prose provides the reader with an enlightening experience through the eyes of the author. I felt both moved yet wonderfully amused by the writing. Certain aspects of the book bring both heartfelt warmth to one who has also experienced caring for one's parent and much humour. This particular collection of events follows the experiences of the writer, and is also well illustrated by the passage of photos of Mrs Fassio. Well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2011
I can really relate to this book. My grandfather died back in 2000 after many years suffering from Alzheimer's and my grandmother is now in the late stages of this book. Reading Dementia & Mum: Who Really Cares, I truly understand what the author Michael is referring to. It can be difficult to be around a person with dementia, caring for them while keeping a sense of balance between the real world and the fantasy world that people with dementia tend to fall into.
For example, Michael mentions in the book how his mother (who suffered from dementia in the latter years of her life) still had clear memory of her Italian background, which spurred them to take a trip to Italy. Unfortunately as he recalls, the trip was anything but pleasant, with her not being able to wait for long periods of time before forgetting why they are waiting in the first place. This is something that I have personally experienced when being out with my grandmother.
A must read book for anyone who lives with those who suffer from dementia. 5 *****
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2012
My mum died in 2006 having suffered with lots of different problems. Vascular dementitia being one of them.
Two of my friends mums' now have a diagnosis of dementia and I was looking for personal accounts in order to seek help.
I read this book as I was interested how a son would look after his mum (one of my friends being male was finding some aspects of the care difficult)
Michael Fassio has written a brilliant book. He is very honest and open. This would be a great help for anyone looking after a loved one with this awful disease.
To top it all, as I started to read further into the book. Having lived in Chiswick, I had seen this lady riding her bike! I remember saying to my husband at seeing her, I hoped I could still have the confidence to use the roads at her age.
Knowing the area it made the book even more interesting as I knew exactly the buildings and places mentioned.
I read this book within a few days,
Thank you Michael for sharing your memories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2012
This book arrived at just the right time. I am caring for my mum who has a dementia. Its an uncertain journey and it was good to follow Michaels story. The Kindle has no pictures but googled and found the photos online, was lovely to put faces to names. I am given a peace and hope in reading this. I too have no desire for mum to go into a nursing home. Dementia and Mum should be on every doctors bookshelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2015
As a rule I only read fiction because I get bored easily and having read a few Biographies and Auto Biographies I wasn't keen to start another. However this book is different. I met Michael recently on a film set and he mentioned he'd written this book. I looked at the reviews and decided to give it a go. I was hooked right from the start. Beautifully written it gives an insight into the life of Michael's mother and people who were affected by this dreadful condition. I read in awe about the things this man did for his mother, I laughed, I cried and at times even shocked. The reason I have not given it 5 stars is because for me personally I felt that Michael didn't expand enough on certain people, but I think that may be purely from a woman's point of view. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2014
Written from the heart, with care and love. Dementia and Mum is an honest account of the journey from the onsets of dementia to the moment where we accept we have to say, Goodbye. The journey is one of ups and downs supported by hope. Within it's narrative you are taught what dementia really is and how it spirals to more than just memory loss. Undoubtedly you'll find yourself shedding a tear, as you became aware of how important empathy is in our lives to our friends, relatives and strangers. There is always more than meets the eye and I feel this book expresses that admirably from the perspective of the dementia carer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2014
Easy to read, funny in places and poignant in others. Would help others understand the dementia process.
A great read!

PS-I just read that at least 10% of the profits from the sales of this book go to charity. This guy also gets a whole school to do a charity walk across London! What a guy!
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