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Dementia message 'shines bright'

Families of loved ones living with dementia may find some comfort in a new children’s book which illustrates the devastating progression of the disease. Sheryl Munday, a Perth aged care manager at Southern Cross Care WA, wrote and illustrated the book.
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Families of loved ones living with dementia may find some comfort in a new children’s book which illustrates the devastating progression of the disease.

Sheryl Munday, a Perth aged care manager at Southern Cross Care WA, wrote and illustrated the book titled Shining Brightly after witnessing the confusion experienced by those with relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Pictured is the Hon Helen Morton MLC, Minister for Mental Health and Disability Services, and author of Shining Brightly, Sheryl Munday.

“I was inspired to write the book to help residents’ family members understand what was happening to their loved ones,” Ms Munday says.

“I felt they needed simple answers to questions like: ‘why they have become forgetful?’ and ‘why they are moving into care?’”

In particular, Ms Munday explains the importance of “sensitively” informing children about the things to expect as dementia progresses in a grandparent or other family member.

“I found a children’s book was the perfect mechanism for this,” she adds.

Shining Brightly highlights the devastating progression of Alzheimer’s in an elderly woman through the eyes of her young granddaughter.

Stuart Flynn, Southern Cross Care WA chief executive, says: “Given the projected prevalence of dementia, it is inevitable that more and more children will face the realities of having to understand and deal with what dementia means for someone they love.

“This book recognises that reality, and will be of tremendous value to not only children, but also their parents, teachers and many others.”

There were 24,000 Western Australians living with dementia last year. The number is expected to increase to 36,500 by 2020 and 69,000 by 2050.

To order your copy of Shining Brightly, visit the DPS Shop.

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