Katie Faulkner pictured with her book. Credit: Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
A physiotherapist at Barnet Hospital has written a book to help young children gain a greater understanding of how people are affected by dementia.
Physiotherapy team lead Katie Faulkner, who specialises in caring for patients living with dementia, wrote the book Big Bear, Little Bear and Dementia for children who might have a relative with the condition.
When Ms Faulkner was eight-years-old, her own great grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, and so she understands some of the difficulties families face when a loved one has this condition.
The book tells the story of a bear who puts books containing their memories on to a book shelf – the newest memory books are placed on the top shelves of the book case.
But dementia makes the bookshelf shake, so the books at the top are the first to fall meaning those memories can no longer be accessed. The book goes on to explain, however, that those memories are stored safely in the bear’s heart.
Ms Faulkner, who collaborated with artist Iain Welch, came up with the idea for the book during lockdown and said that she wanted to create a story that would feel inclusive.
She said: “This book is a way of helping children understand what is happening and it can also help an adult who is reading it to them because they will also be going through an emotive time. The book can help you understand that it is ok to feel angry or upset that someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia.
“I have been posting the books out to buyers, but I’ve now sold around 70 copies and it’s got to the point where I don’t have capacity to do this on my own – so I think I will look at working with a publisher instead.
“The feedback from people who’ve read the book has been amazing, this is a complete passion project for me so I am so pleased it’s been really well-received. I really hope this book can help in some way by raising awareness of this condition.”