Loving Dunstable son publishes poem collection inspired by his mum's heartbreaking deterioration with dementia
He has become a full-time carer
A Dunstable carer has published his collection of poems, inspired by his experience of caring for his mother with dementia, in a book which is available on Amazon.
The author Kayson J Gurney is splitting the profits of the sale of the heart-rending poetry book ‘In the Moment: Caring for your loved one’, with local charity Carers in Bedfordshire and Alzheimer's Society. The 57-year-old wanted to ensure the book was ready to be sold in December so those interested in poetry, or what it takes to be a full-time carer for a family member, could put it on their Christmas list.
Kayson has cared for his 84-year-old mother Kay for the last seven years, after he moved back into the family home. He gave up his teaching job when he recognised she was beginning to forget things and how to do simple daily tasks.
He said: “With my mother's mind and memories continuing to fade as she began losing the battle to stay in the same reality as me, I got into writing poetry as I had to try and express how I felt. I attended the Carers in Bedfordshire Poetry Zoom Group and was also inspired by the stories of members of Alzheimer’s Society and Carers in Bedfordshire’s support group I attend with my mother.
“It’s heart breaking to see my mother deteriorate. As someone gets worse with dementia you take on more and more things you never thought you’d have to do. My poems are written from the heart and reference this relationship change, as well as the scale of fatigue you feel as a carer. A lot of people have no idea how hard caring is, it’s 24/7 you can’t just switch off.
“I also explore in the poems how people with dementia lose the ability to communicate in a way we can’t understand. But they’re still there, they’re still listening. I look at how the world treats them.
“You become a carer purely out of love. There is little recognition, reward, or respite in caring for your loved one. But there is support from Carers in Bedfordshire and Alzheimer's Society, to help your wellbeing, as well as support for the person you care for. By purchasing this book, you are not only helping yourself, but other carers who will benefit, as all the profits from sales will be donated equally between the two charities.”
Jolene Macnaughton, Fundraising Manager at Carers in Bedfordshire, added: “We are so grateful to Kayson for his very generous donation. We know how much time and effort has gone into the very moving and thought-provoking collection of poetry. It’s also amazing he found the time to write so many poems alongside caring for his mother. We will put the money towards helping other unpaid carers.
“Many carers do not see themselves as carers, because they are just doing what they can for a relative or friend. But if you’re in a similar situation and the person you care for couldn't cope without you, we encourage you to register with us so you too can be supported."
Laura Hannibal, Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect Local Services Manager in Bedfordshire, said: “It is thanks to supporters like Kayson and his efforts to help raise money, that our services can make sure no-one faces dementia alone.
“We recently supported Carers Rights Day by highlighting our Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456), that has been used more than six million times since the coronavirus pandemic began. This vital support has been a real lifeline for thousands during the crisis, but we want to reach more people affected by dementia.
“Money raised from Kayson’s book will support our team of dedicated Dementia Advisers, to help the partners, family members and friends caring for loved ones with dementia to navigate the complicated maze of health and social care services. Whether it’s advice on legal documents, help understanding dementia, or someone to talk to when things get tough, they are there to help.”
For further information or to purchase ‘In the Moment’ visit www.amazon.co.uk/Moment-Caring-your-loved-one/dp/B09MB2VDWR. You can also watch Kayson read out one of his poems https://youtu.be/lUszcpB8GKUTo find out more about Carers in Bedfordshire or to sign up for support, visit www.carersinbeds.org.uk. To find out about support from Alzheimer’s Society visit www.alzheimers.org.uk