Around 64,000 people in Ireland are currently living with dementia, while many thousands more provide support to loved ones, primarily at home.
Inspired by the effect dementia had on her relationship with her own grandmother, and wishing to face her own personal fears, illustrator Caroline Hyland has harnessed her creativity to produce a lavish, yet practical book designed to encourage a focus on the individual living with dementia, rather than on the dementia itself.
“Each illustration in the book is an accumulation of observations and conversations with people living with dementia and with those that support them,” Caroline explains.
The book, with all proceeds going to the HSE South Dublin community project Living Well with Dementia, consists of 12 full-colour, hand-painted illustrations with accompanying text. It aims to inform the person, their family and friends, students, healthcare workers and wider society. It can be used to open up conversations among all ages and as a training resource in the fields of health and social care. In his foreword, consultant gerontologist at Tallaght University Hospital, Professor Desmond O’Neill, describes the illustrations as “beautiful and thought-provoking”.
The book has evolved from a visual arts project facilitated by Tallaght University Hospital in 2017, with support and funding from the Adelaide Health Foundation, the Meath Foundation and the National Centre for Arts and Health. This enabled Caroline to exhibit her art project in several venues around Ireland and to address various audiences, including healthcare workers and students and to speak at the International Dementia Conference in 2018.
Can You See What I See? is available June 9 from www.carolinehyland.com price €16 (plus P&P)