A collection of books aimed at people affected by dementia is now available at all of East Devon’s libraries.

The Reading Well for Dementia collection is endorsed by health experts, carers of people with dementia, and charities. The books contain information and personal case histories that will help people to understand dementia and cope with its effects on their loved ones.

The collection includes a book by local dementia campaigner Gina Awad, illustrated by cartoonist Tony Husband. The book, United, tackles the serious issue of dementia and its impact on families in a humorous and approachable way.

Gina said: “I was overjoyed to hear I was selected as a featured author in this fabulous scheme, particularly knowing all titles have been reviewed by people directly affected by dementia, as well as professionals.”

The initiative has been welcomed by Heather Penwarden BEM, the founding chair of Dementia Friendly Honiton. She said: “Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can be pretty scary not just for the person with dementia but for all those that care about them too.

“We are told that one in three of us will know someone with dementia and with the myriad of books on this subject available it can be difficult to know which one is going to suit best.

“The Reading Well prescription list is a great place to start, as many of these health related books are written from the perspective of people with lived experience.

“I am absolutely delighted that Gina and Tony’s book United has been added to the Read Well list. This heart-warming and beautifully illustrated book tells the real life stories of people living with dementia as told by their loved ones. Anyone touched by dementia of any age will find it relatable, and best of all you can now get it on prescription.”

Shiobhan Pickering is a Community Dementia Matron for the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, covering the Axe Valley area. 

She said: "Being informed has a huge benefit for people living with dementia and their families/carers, no matter what age. Hopefully people will read some of the book collection and feel like they are not alone.  The new dementia book list can signpost them to support and guide them through the experiences of dementia. It is also imperative that they are accessible for all, from libraries, books shops and online."

The full Reading Well for Dementia collection is available as books, e-books and audiobooks.  The list of books and more information about them can be found here.