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Voices of the Soul: the Forgotten Truth about Dementia

Hans Siepel

This searing memoir, written by a son about his mother's dementia, is set in a town in the Netherlands but the issues reflected are relevant anywhere. The family are devoted, but the mother's decline reveals undercurrents in their relationships. We hear of the conventional medical approach to this difficult area of care but the family reject the medication so frequently prescribed to control patients. For a while, they care for her themselves at home but her increasingly erratic and sometimes violent behaviour overwhelms them. The tribulations of caring for a person with dementia are vividly recounted. The son feels that his mother is trying to tell them about her past through her dementia. Gradually, they come to know about the traumatic events in her childhood. Her siblings and the narrator's wife also have vital roles in the 'play' the mother is enacting. Although she ends up in hospital, finally the truth emerges and the past is movingly redeemed.

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Hans Siepel (1958) studied political science and has worked in various communication roles: in politics, at the Dutch Railways and he has been the spokesman of several Dutch ministers. For more than ten years, he has been a writer as well as an advisor in the area of crisis-communication. Most of his books are inspired by hermetic wisdom.