Books·Canadian

Be With

Drawing on the author’s seven years of caring for his mother through Alzheimer’s, the Mike Barnes book is about what it means to live with dementia.

Mike Barnes

Be With: Letters to a Caregiver is what its title promises: four dispatches to an anonymous long-term caregiver. In brief passages that cast fresh light on what it means to live with dementia, Barnes shares trials, insights, solace — and, ultimately, inspiration.

Meant to be a companion in waiting rooms, on bus routes, or while a loved one naps, Be With is a dippable source of clarity for harried readers who might only have time for a few lines or paragraphs. Mike Barnes writes with sensitivity and grace about fellowship, responsibility and joyful relatedness — what it means to simply be with the people that we love. (From Bibloasis)

Why Mike Barnes wrote Be With

"Over the last few years I've met a lot of people dealing with relatives that have dementia. Each one of them has a different situation but nobody gets off easy that's for sure. It so easy to overestimate how capable the person still is. You're trying to still give them their autonomy and that can lead to a lot of errors at first because you're just trying to let them live a full life.

I wanted to claim back something for myself because I felt like it was eating me alive and if I could write about it, that would at least be a corner that was mine.- Mike Barnes

"I also filtered the book down to the essentials: I wanted to convey not the whole experience of caring for someone with the disease, but just winnowed down to some nuggets they can take away. I wanted to write something about what I was experiencing with dementia and caregiving. It was such a powerful experience. I wanted to claim back something for myself because I felt like it was eating me alive and if I could write about it, that would at least be a corner that was mine."

Read more in his interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Mike Barnes

During the many years author Mike Barnes has been caring for his mother, Mary, who has dementia, he felt the desire to write about the issues he confronted day-to-day. His book is called Be With: Letters to a Caregiver.

 

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