Forget-me-nots, remembering ones cared for

Book cover

Danijela Hlis' book ‘Forget-Me-Nots’, a collection of poems and stories that introduces the reader to the world of dementia was published this year, a third book for the Slovenian born Australian author.

“I wanted to tell these often forgotten but touching stories that came to me while caring for my mother who had dementia, also my aunt in France, and my clients and friends of Aboriginal, Italian, French, Slovenian, Spanish descent.

“People who are of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and have dementia are even more isolated. Respite is often impossible, as they are not understood in day centres and respite facilities,” she said.

The subtle moments of joy and beauty experienced while caring for someone with dementia are not captured as the business of the caring role often takes precedence over other forms of expression says Danijela.

“When our hearts are open to give and receive love, caring is never a burden, and living with dementia can be sweet,” Danijela said.

This extract is from a poem in the book inspired by the author’s mother called ‘Princess’:

“….Her eyes sparkle: A Princess
So I bought her sparkling rings and crowns and tiaras,
together we found beauty in life,
listened to sweetness of compassion from passers-by.
Mother glowed with hope and trust
I followed with wings in my heart.

And below an extract from the poem ‘Dance with me’
“…I may no longer know you,
but I love to dance. Lost is the ability to WRITE cha-cha, samba, waltz,
but play me the songs, my love,
light like a feather I will dance -
my face aglow with joy and gratitude.

Danijela has been an activist and consumer advocate for people living with dementia and their carers for more than eight years and stresses the importance of the environment.

“Dementia friendly communities are more needed than any medicine,” she said.

As a long term member of Consumer Dementia Research Network (CDRN) and CDPC Consumer Representative, Danijela has participated in a number of CDPC Project teams, been on a variety of executive and steering committees, presented at conferences and given workshops to staff in residential care facilities while living in Tasmania.

Danijela worked in the diplomatic service as a Human Resource Manager in London, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Sydney and Melbourne. And later opened a tourist complex in Tasmania.

She is passionate about raising awareness about the need for inclusion for all, in all matters relating to living with dementia.

“Dementia does not discriminate,” Danijela points out.

The book is bilingual, in English and Slovenian. The Slovenian title is, ‘Spomincice’. It can be ordered from , or ($18 postage included) or purchased at Books on Buderim, 82 Burnet St Buderim QLD 4556 ($15)

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