Staff Trained to Support People with Dementia how use their library


Staff Across the Country Trained in Supporting People with Dementia to Use Their Local Library

A collection of Top 25 Dementia Books, as compiled by Ireland’s librarians, has today been revealed. The development of the specially curated selection offers a range of perspectives on life with the disease and follows on a need identified by people with dementia and their loved ones for greater information and support. It has been created in partnership with colleagues from the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre, Dublin (DSIDC).

Through an initiative of Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme, and supported by the Dementia: Understand Together campaign, led by the HSE, the books are now available in 330 libraries nationwide.

The collection features an eclectic mix of titles on the subject of dementia, from slowing the onset of the disease to ways to improve our brain health, from first-hand accounts of people living with dementia to ways to improve life through nutrition, music, the arts, and more.

The introduction of the collection has been supported by the delivery of dementia awareness training. The training, delivered by the DSIDC, provided information on the different types of dementia and their symptoms. It also gave information and advice on creating a supportive environment and how best to assist and communicate with the person with dementia when visiting the library.

On behalf of public libraries, Colette Byrne, Chair of the Libraries Development Committee of the Local Government Management Agency and Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council said: “We are delighted to announce details of this list of Top 25 Dementia Books which we hope readers will find both useful and engaging. It wasn’t easy to settle on our final 25 and, with new books arriving all the time, we will continue to review and add to our listing as appropriate. These books speak to the experiences not only of doctors, psychologists, carers, but, most importantly, of people with dementia. We look forward to sharing our insights on the different books and to pointing readers in the right direction of the most suitable titles depending on the particular interest they might have.

“It’s all part of Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme which is about providing enhanced health and well-being book collections, and a range of programmes and events, to support people in managing their own health.”

Information is Power For Fiona Foley, National Co-ordinator, Dementia: Understand Together in the Communities, libraries offer a key resource in supporting people with dementia to live full and active lives: “If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that we are social creatures and that social interaction is a vital part of our health and well-being. It is no different for people with dementia. Unfortunately, people with the condition may experience stigma and retreat from social interaction as a result of this. This can lead to isolation and feelings of loneliness for the person with dementia, their families, and supporters. While this predates the pandemic, it is nowadays a feeling that we can all perhaps relate to. That is why this new initiative by Ireland’s libraries is so fantastic in extending a warm welcome to people with dementia to their local library as part of an inclusive community, and in providing training to staff to make the service as supportive and accessible as possible.

“Finding out as much as possible about dementia, the supports available, the importance of staying socially active and keeping your brain exercised, can all help your health, well-being, and quality of life. The development of this Top 25 Dementia Book listing offers people who want to find out more about dementia a treasure trove of insights and suggestions.”

If you or a loved one is worried about symptoms of dementia, you can speak to a dementia adviser at The Alzheimer Society of Ireland on Freefone 1800 341 341 (Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm). For information on supports available, including a county-by-county service-finder, visit

Each year more than 11,000 people develop the disease across the country – that’s around 30 people every day. Approximately 64,000 people are living with dementia in Ireland today and this number is expected to more than double to over 150,000 by 2045. There are many forms of dementia, with the most common being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, mixed Alzheimer’s disease/vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease.

Top 25 Dementia Books, as collated by Ireland’s Librarians and DSIDC
  1. 100 Days to a Younger Brain by Dr Sabina Brennan: features details of 100 programmes aimed at improving brain health, including information needed to empower you to make informed choices every day about your sleeping, eating and lifestyle habits.
  2. A Pocket Guide to Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias by Dr James Warner and Dr Nori Graham: this book helps to demystify these conditions and gives practical advice on how those with dementia and those supporting them can be better placed to cope.
  3. Adaptive Interaction and Dementia by Dr Maggie Ellis and Prof. Arlene Astell: how non-verbal techniques can help the person with dementia to remain in touch with the ‘social world’.
  4. And Still the Music Plays – Stories of People with Dementia, by Graham Stokes:  featuring 22 compelling stories, this book draws on his memories of people with dementia whom he has met in his work as a clinical psychologist to bring us all a greater understanding of the condition and why some behave in the way that they do.
  5. The Caregiver's Encyclopedia by Muriel R Gillick: provides the reader with all of the information needed to take the best care of the person you support, from making major medical decisions to making sure you don't burn out.
  6. Communication Skills for Effective Dementia Care by Ian A. James and Laura Gibbons: this insightful book teaches the skills needed by healthcare staff in their day-to-day interactions with people with dementia and their families.
  7. Contented Dementia by Oliver James: features a ground-breaking and practical method for supporting the person with dementia that will allow them to maintain the highest possible quality of life by creating links between past memories and the routine activities of daily life in the present.
  8. Coping with Mild Cognitive Impairment by Mary Jordan: offers strategies for concerned individuals to help slow the onset of dementia with self-help measures such as memory aids, health and lifestyle changes, activities, therapies and technological aids.
  9. Creative Engagement – A Handbook of Activities for People with Dementia by Rachael Wonderlin with Geri M Lotze: an activity book to help caregivers improve the quality of life of people who have dementia with dozens of creative, hands-on ways to engage with people living with cognitive loss.
  10. Dancing with Dementia: My Story of Living Positively with Dementia by Christine Bryden: this book offers a vivid account of the author's experiences of living with dementia, and is a thoughtful exploration of how dementia challenges our ideas of personal identity and of the process of self-discovery it can bring about. Christine is also author of Who Will I be when I Die? which offers rare first-hand insights into how it feels to gradually lose the ability to undertake tasks most people take for granted.
  11. Dear Alzheimer's: A Diary of Living with Dementia by Keith Oliver: the author tells his story of Alzheimer’s disease through a diary format, giving an unparalleled insight into what day-to-day life with dementia is like, and how he continues to live a full life since diagnosis.
  12. Dementia Essentials by Jan Hall: written by a carer, this is a practical, realistic and reassuring guide to help you and the person with dementia on the journey ahead with lots of essential advice, personal insights and helpful strategies.
  13. Dementia Reconsidered, Revisited – The Person Still Comes First by Tom Kitwood: this book brings to a new generation the insight and vision of the author and highlights the importance of the ‘person’ behind the dementia thereby acknowledging the rights of people with dementia and their family care-givers.
  14. Dementia, Sex and Wellbeing by Danuta Lipinska: this book offers a unique model for person-centred conversations about sex and sexuality that we have not seen before.
  15. Dementia: Everything Your Doctor Doesn't Have Time to Tell You by Dr Matt Piccaver: this book helps the reader to understand what happens to the brain when it develops Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia and what the treatment possibilities are. It also covers such practicalities as driving and making your home safe.
  16. Dementia: Support for Family and Friends by Dave Pulsford and Rachel Thompson: this book explores how dementia unfolds and explains not only how it will affect the person, but also those around them, and how best to offer support and where to get professional and informal assistance.
  17. Finding the Light in Dementia by Jane M Mullins: this essential self-help book explains common changes that can occur in those living with dementia. By offering valuable approaches, tips and suggestions, the reader can learn to care for, and maintain, a connection with the individual with dementia.
  18. I'm Still Here – A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care by John Zeisel: focuses on how to maintain a connection with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease using their retained abilities such as their understanding of music, art, their facial expressions and touch.
  19. Life at Home for People with a Dementia by Ruth Bartlett and Tula Brannelly: this book provides an evidence-based and readable account of how to improve life at home for people with dementia and their families.
  20. Living Well with Dementia through Music edited by Catherine Richards: this accessible guide embraces ways in which music can enhance the daily lives of those with dementia and how this can extend to inspire dance, movement, poetry and imagery.
  21. Practical Nutrition and Hydration for Dementia-Friendly Mealtimes by Lee Martin: this research-informed book explains how to make the most of mealtimes, increasing nutritional intake, social contact and food enjoyment.
  22. The Creative Arts in Dementia Care by Jill Hayes with Sarah Povey: this resource details the use of meditation, singing, movement and storytelling for groups or individuals, outlining the underpinning therapeutic benefits and offering practical examples of how they can be used.
  23. Understanding Behaviour in Dementia that Challenges by Ian Andrew James and Louisa Jackman: this book provides theory and practical guidance on the assessment and treatment of behaviours that challenge in dementia, with a particular emphasis on non-pharmacological approaches.
  24. What Dementia Teaches Us About Love by Nicci Gerrard: this truthful, humane book is filled with stories, both moving and optimistic, from those living with dementia to those planning the end of life, from the scientists unlocking the mysteries of the brain to the therapists using art and music to enrich the lives of people with dementia.
  25. Young Onset Dementia by Hilda Hayo, Alison Ward & Jacqueline Parkes: explores the experiences of people living with a diagnosis of young onset dementia. Key issues are considered, including at-risk groups, work and dealing with potential loss of employment, changes in personal and family relationships, readjusting life expectations and plans, and the potential social isolation.


Issued on behalf of the Dementia: Understand Together campaign by: Don Delaney, d2 communications, tel. 01 910 8987 / 087 793 3249 or email About the HSE’s Dementia: Understand Together campaign

The Dementia: Understand Together campaign is a public support, awareness and information campaign that aims to inspire people from all sections of society to stand together with the 500,000 Irish people whose families have been affected by dementia. Led by the HSE in partnership with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Age Friendly Ireland, Age and Opportunity, and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre, it is one of six key priorities of the Irish National Dementia Strategy. Dementia: Understand Together is now supported by over 40 partner organisations across Ireland, including in the retail, transport, banking, health, voluntary and community sectors. These organisations, together with over 400 community champions from all over Ireland, are leading the way in creating communities that actively embrace and include those living with dementia and their families.

Find support &
services near you

Need urgent help?

Freephone our helpline
on 1800 341 341

The helpline is open
Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm
Saturday, 10am to 4pm