‘Talking Sense’ free audiobook launched on World Alzheimer’s Day

A unique audiobook addressing the often overlooked issue of sensory changes for people with dementia launched on World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21, at HammondCare’s online International Dementia Conference.

Talking Sense: Living with sensory changes and dementia, written by Agnes Houston MBE with Dr Julie Christie, is a popular print and online resource and now for the first time will be available as an audio book.

Director of The Dementia Centre, A/Prof Colm Cunningham said it was one of the first audiobooks in the world to use dementia-friendly audio to ensure it is readily accessible for people living with dementia, along with carers and supporters.

“We’ve created this new audiobook version of Talking Sense to support people who are more comfortable with auditory learning – particularly people with dementia who may find it difficult to read or focus on words on a page.” A/Prof Cunningham said.

“The resource provides an opportunity for people with dementia to engage with helpful information and practical advice in a format which is specially tailored for their needs.

“Agnes’ own experience of living with dementia also means that this resource has been produced with easy to understand language and dementia-friendly audio.”

A/Prof Cunningham said the release of the Talking Sense audiobook was even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic when many people with dementia and their carers were experiencing increased isolation.

“People have been more isolated, often due to tight restrictions on visits from family and friends and cancellation of many activities. At the same time, the need for helpful and accessible information and resources has increased.

“That’s why we are making this specially tailored audiobook available as a free resource. People can listen to the book while doing other activities, such as going for a walk, doing household chores or just sitting together and relaxing.”

Talking Sense is the culmination of more than a decade of research by Agnes Houston after she was diagnosed with younger onset dementia in 2006. She found that not only was there little support for continued independence but what support there was had virtually no awareness of the common experience of sensory change.

“It was as if I had been given a diagnosis, was assessed cognitively, medication monitored and left to my own devices,” Ms Houston said. “Instead, I chose to go on a quest for knowledge to understand what was happening to me. Surely, I was not the only one having these sensory changes?”

Ms Houston is known internationally as an advocate for people living with dementia and in 2016, she completed a Churchill Fellowship to continue her learning about the often overlooked issue of sensory challenges.

The release of the book in the audio format is in part a response to the increased isolation of people with dementia and their carers as a result of COVID-19, and the need for accessible resources.

The Talking Sense audiobook can be accessed, for free, through the Dementia Centre Knowledge Hub.


Download here