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Hello and welcome to my blog. On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young onset dementia. I may not have much of a short-term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget.

Me - 59 years young with my wonderful daughters:)
Me – 59 years young with my wonderful daughters:)

I’m 62 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I continued to work full time in the NHS until the end of March 2015, when I chose to take early retirement to enable me to enjoy being me while I’m able. I have never ‘tweeted’, ‘blogged’ or ‘facebooked’ in my life but since I was diagnosed, everything else in my life has changed, so why not this. I hope you find my ramblings of interest.

I started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. Luckily the part of my brain that allows me to type hasn’t broken yet and I find that easier than talking. I have calendars that take care of the future but this blog serves as a reminder of what I’ve done and said in the past – it now serves as my memory. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness.

It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we’ve been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we still have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day-to-day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. Living as well as you can with dementia is all about adapting. Adapting to new ways to enable us to live better for longer with dementia.

I can type as though dementia never entered my world as that part of my brain has not yet been affected, but that often works against me as people question my diagnosis. All I can say is, live a day in my shoes and I’m sure the reality will dawn.

What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

I’m now the proud author of the Sunday Times Best Seller, Somebody I Used to Know, which just goes to show, you should never give up on yourself.

Click on the ‘Blogs’ tab to see what you’ve missed and then click to ‘follow’ me if you’d like to receive my daily blogs in your inbox.

If you prefer to comment by email please feel free – wendy7713@icloud.com or you can find me on Twitter   @WendyPMitchell

Billy, my daughter's cat - a calming influence in my life. Billy, my daughter’s cat – a calming influence in my life.

 

 

861 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hello Wendy, as so many writers before I also say: I just finished your book. I subscribed to your blog. Reading your book has been very helpful for me in the attempt of understanding my friend, maybe a bit. She‘s turned 70 in July and has been diagnosed with Alzheimers 6 yrs. ago. Before, while we were still both working people, we might have met once in a while, talking on the phone every other week, or less. She now has turned to me that way, that she might call me nearly every day (at least) asking to meet with her. I try to meet her once a week, going for a walk, for a nice cup of tea, sometimes for lunch. We never, at no point, talked about her ‘illness’. When she got diagnosed, her daughter told me, she decided to ignore it. She sometimes gets very agitaited and also aggresive towards her husband, never yet in my direction. We have hearty laughs and she gives me a lot of affection. Altough I also must say, I’m sometimes exhausted after the about 2 hours of our meeting. I know, this all isn’t new for you to hear, but it does help me, talking to you about it. Thank you for listening to me and God bless you! I will do my best, to be her friend as long as she needs me.

    I am writing to you from Germany, so if there are mistakes in my writing, sorry for that.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I told my friend about your book. She would love to read it too but is unable to read it in English. Is the book in German translation available?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Wendy, I’ve just read your book and I wanted to tell you how much I admire your attitude. You’ve inspired me to appreciate the little things that are so often taken for granted. Thank you so much. I wish you all the best. Collette

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely and thought provoking read of your book. My wife slipped into dementia. 2011 I became aware of it but a daughter says it was creeping up on her much earlier. Think our scenario a different progression and cardiac arrest in 2015 released her while still able to engage on and off with daily Life. Still if I had your book then I might have done better. I am sure it will bring comfort and reassurance to many. Thank you for your efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Wendy
    I am a woman from Denmark, who just read your amazing book. Thank you for your book, and your great work. Thank you for sharing your life and learning the world about the disease. You have made a big difference. Wish you all the best ♥️ From Luna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree with your comment. This book is so wonderfully written and gives a frank insight into living with Dementia- I’m going to ask all my family to read it – thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous book!!! It has helped me to be a better daughter to my mother who suffers from dementia. The information you’ve shared gives me good insight into her feelings, fears, even the sensitivity to noise!!! I will likely read it again very soon. Thank you and I pray you are well and enjoying life on your good days. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Wendy. Thank you for your amazing book. I have found it inspirational. My mother was diagnosed with dementia when she was 82, 14 years ago, and lived untill she was 92. Those 10 years were a time of change, never knowing how things would progress. Love got us though. As you show so wonderfully in your book. I would have loved to have had your insights then, as I felt my Mum and I were on a voyage together with little information or support available But now I will share your book with anyone I know who is living with dementia, so they have the support of your knowledge of dementia that you have shared so movingly and intelligently. Thank you. Sarah Sander-Jackson.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Wendy
    I have just finished your book and re-read it twice more straight after. It was an amazing read and very insightful into the world of someone living with dementia. I manage care homes for people living with dementia who are no longer able to live at home and I am now recommending your book to my team as a learning tool. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hello Wendy, I loved your book, truly inspiring! I would love to hear any comments you have around the language used in dementia. How for someone living with dementia feels the tide is perhaps changing and how you feel your voice is making a difference to policy and society.
    Kind regards
    Jenny

    Like

    1. Me thinks that’s a blog in itself 😂….sometimes we seem to be making headway but then in a blink of a eye it can seem like we’ve taken 10 steps back…I’ve written quite a lot around language – the main being around trying to change the language of clinicians from saying there’s nothing they can do to ‘there’s so much you CAN still do’……thank you for your kind comments 🤗🙏

      Like

      1. Thank you Wendy for your prompt reply. I look forward to reading more from you in the near future. I have recently started an MSc in dementia studies. I hope that through my learning I will be able to contribute to the changing tide – towards a more inclusive and dementia friendly society – where people don’t feel stigmatised and isolated. Thank you Wendy again, you are an inspiration!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Wendy,
    I heard you speak at the Cheltenham literature festival. As others have said you are inspirational.
    I read your book and wrote little post-it notes each time I came across something that I don’t want to forget! I thought that you would like this.
    I learnt so much from you. This is despite being a GP myself and having cared for my mother who died from dementia.
    I have a summary of 10 post-it notes that I will use to teach my training doctors when we look at dementia. My favourite note says “book shelves”.
    Thank-you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Wendy,

    I just finished your lovely book, in Swedish. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your story and experiences. That helps me a lot to understand.

    You are an amazing woman and many have a lot to learn from you.

    Thank you so much!

    Warm huggs from Martina in Sweden.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish I had read this years ago when my grandmother was starting life with dementia. As you would probably say, better late than never. Your service to others is inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have just finished reading your book and I found it very real, raw and confronting so thank you for making me so aware of what’s going on in my Mother’s head.
    I care for my Mum who has Dementia and most days we get along fine but some days I feel all she wants to do is start a fight with me but your book has helped me to understand that maybe those days she is so confused and scared.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Wendy.
    I am on holiday and have just finished your wonderful book i feel it will inspire individuals and families for years to come. You are amazing .Thankyou for sharing your experiences with us.
    Love Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Wendy,
    Come here from Twitter, then had a read of intro. But no type of dementia mentioned. I’m 63, had a provisional diagnosis of dementia, most likely Lewy Body. Me and wife quite certain it is LBD though from symptoms. Nightmares are terribly bad now, in the days too. I had to take early retirement 3 years ago as I couldn’t function properly. Now mostly house bound and bed bound. It sucks, it really does. Look forward to learning more about your journey.

    Like

      1. Thanks Wendy,
        Yes, I have! Wife follows as my main helper. But I still wonder what variant you have. I have heard you speak of memory issues, and it appears you no longer drive. But you’re still travelling and able to articulate to give talks. I’m just curious as my mental abilities vary wildly from day to day. And articulating difficult so a conversation is awfully slow or impossible. Writing allows me to get thoughts down, albeit slowly, then review and revise, before sending.

        Do you have LBD diagnosis, another form, or unspecified dementia??

        Like

      2. Thanks Wendy! No more questions for now. I had my LBD diagnosis only a few months ago, though we knew there was something strange going on a couple of years ago when investigations started. I had an ME diagnosis a few years ago, which is what caused the early retirement 3 years ago. Initially muscular and fatigue, then memory, concentration and organisational skills all started to decline. Sadly, the ME leaves me very much disabled now by chronic muscular pain, terrible balance and I am under a strict and heavy pain control scheme of medication. ME very much clouded the issue of dementia, making people more reluctant to investigate. My wife is stubborn and stuck her ground, which is just as well. I am now on Prometax 9mg daily dose patches which my wife thinks makes my alert spells more functional for me. Hallucinations have subsided a little too. But conversely my horrible dreams, day and night, seem to have become worse and sleep for us both more disturbed.

        Lewy Body.org does not seem very responsive to my personal approaches, so difficult to find any who shares or can help with good advice on my mixed diagnosis. It’s a problem because I could be unique!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You said you were on Twitter? Might be an idea to tweet asking if anyone is in the same situation? You never know. If you include me in the tweet I’ll see it and retweet for you. 🙄

        Like

    1. My sister suffered terrible nightmares and found that two drops of the Bach flower remedy called Scleranthus before bed worked for her. I hope it might help you.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hello Wendy,
    Having finished your book I really missed having you in my daily life so was very happy to discover that I could keep alongside you by signing up for your daily blogs.
    You fill me with admiration & it warms my heart to know your two beautiful daughters are there beside you on your journey. Your ability to find something each & every day to enjoy should be a lesson for us all. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Greetings and I commend what you are doing here. I too have dementia and am trying kind of the same thing by blogging what its like from the patient POV (I have Lewy Body Dementia). I am new to much of this but realized early on that I am not up to handling some kind of busy social media life but I do want to get the word of what I know to other patients and caregivers. Sadly no one sees it and now I found yours doing something similar so may I ask: Back in the day niche websites would create web rings where groups of similarly themed websites would link to each other forming a “ring”…are you open for anything like that? I think we both use the same blogging software so perchance there is an easy way to do it that even my diseased mind can follow….

    Regardless, I do applaud your efforts as I know how taxing even something as simple as this can be on the demented mind. There are many times the dementia makes thinking straight so hard, giving up feels like an obvious solution.

    Finally, as a former professional “thinker” let me ask you this: do you find yourself sort of troubleshooting your own mind/dementia? I used to be an engineer and find that treating my dementia as a lab experiment lets me disassociate myself from it, so I see my dementia through the dispassionate eyes of a researcher……

    Like

    1. Hello Jeffrey. I do indeed analyse my own dementia. That’s how I cope with much of it. I like to look down at me and disassociate myself from me so I can try and understand better what’s happening. I always put my blog on Twitter each day I write too as that gets more of an audience. It took me ages before others read it. I write it for me though otherwise I’d forget all my wonderful experiences and feelings would be lost. My blog is my memory. That others choose to read it is very humbling. Sending hugs.wendy x

      Like

  17. I just finished reading your book! You truly are a crusader in your work and your life! Your book brought me to tears in sections but your undaunting desire to be YOU showed your courage and desire to live life on life’s terms! I too loved your daughters!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I discovered something positive about Alzheimer’s today. My parents have just returned from living abroad, so we saw each other infrequently over the last 15 years. After the move I stayed a week with them…..every morning my lovely dad’s face lit up with an enormous smile whenever I appeared….”oh how lovely, you’re here!” He would exclaim whilst coming over and giving me the most amazing hug!
    There aren’t many of these moments in the lives of families who care for those with any form of dementia unfortunately, but these are the moments to hang onto.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I’ve learned to count my blessings over the years as friends and family and colleagues have lost their lives to everything from drunken drivers to cancer via MS, Motoneurons disease and let’s face it any one of 100 other conditions. For many it’s a painful sentence as punishment for a crime no one actually committed. It’s good to care and I think our collective contributions are a good thing. Hang on in there. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  19. The book group I’m in will be discussing your book at our next meeting, which will be in my home. I brought my mother here to visit me, my husband and my brother a week before she died of congestive heart failure. My brothers, sister and I felt very fortunate that her heart failed her while she could still remember our names and faces. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years before her death at 86. She had lived independently until we moved her into an assisted living facility, then into home care.

    Your book will be very helpful for people or their family members who need to learn how to live with dementia. You are very creative and proactive. Thanks for sharing your experience, for writing a wonderful book and for being involved in so many aspects of your own disease. You’ve had the courage to help people understand and to help with research.

    Best wishes to you, your daughters and even to that beautiful black cat!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have just finished your book Wendy and it has helped me tremendously with my nan who is in a lovely care home with dementia and had a stroke Nov 2018. Thank you for taking the time to write the book. Hope you are doing well

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m a GP and just read your book. It’s a very powerful depiction of the journey with dementia. Thank you for sharing your most vulnerable moments with us. May you continue to live in the moment and may those moments be beautiful ones.

    Ps as a local girl, I was left wondering which is the village you so fondly speak of?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Wendy,
    I’m in Australia and just finished reading your amazing book. You have given me a new insight into Alzheimers and dementia. My husband and I cared for my father-in-law and Down Syndrome sister-in-law with this condition (Maggie died on New Years Day). If only I had you beside me during this difficult time. Now we have our elderly Mums in their mid-nineties dealing with their dementia too. I applaud your resilience and courage in dealing with your condition. Keep blogging for your own health and to continue to teach us so much. Marg xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wendy I must also tell you that my husband and I travelled to Europe and England just over a year ago for the first time. It was always Mum’s wish to see it but never fulfilled her dream, so I took so many photos for her. Our two week road trip of England (and Wales) was very rushed but we saw some beautiful sights that you mentioned in your book. Our last two nights were spent in York and we were mesmerised by your city. Our guide took us everywhere including The Shambles, York Minster and other historic sights Inside the walls. I do remember an ambulance trying to navigate the narrow streets and it was very loud – just as you said. The Shambles was fascinating! So your book took me back to England, such a beautiful country! Marg.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. What a wonderful legacy your book is. Everyone should read it. There was much that resonated with how an old friend spoke about his dementia – the standing in the hallway not knowing what was behind each door and the visual anomalies that I had been so ignorant of before he spoke of them. Your book gives the world a much better understanding of the world from the point of view of a person living with dementia and to those that care, or may come to care for a loved one,

    The question I kept asking myself was how on earth you manage to stay calm if that fog descends when you’re out and you have no idea what surrounds you or where you are? I know you say panic sets in, but how do you then calm yourself enough to find a coffee shop or somewhere to sit until the fog lifts and what is it that stops you from simply going to pieces in the middle of the pavement? Have you somehow programmed your brain to do that or is that an inborn trait of character that filters through?

    Wendy, I wish you well in the years to come and hope you continue to live a fulfilling life for many more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that if I move too far away that I might really get lost so I simply know, beyond all the panic, that I need to remain calm …somehow….easier said than done sometimes…🤗xx

      Like

  24. Hi Wendy

    It would be nice to be able to see some of the older blogs. Maybe you could add either the calendar or the archive widget (or both) to your side bar. You should be able to find them from the WP Admin page where you can see “Appearance” and then “Widgets”.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Dear Wendy .
    I have just finished your book and wanted to say what a truly inspirational lady you are. The courage you show each and everyday by addressing your fears and worries and finding ways to ‘beat the Alzheimer’s ‘ is astonishing and I hope you continue to live a happy and fulfilling life for many years to come .

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I too have just read your book whilst on holiday. Truly inspirational! I shed a few tears whilst by the pool as well, especially when you had your P.I.P. taken away. I am a Citizens’ Advice adviser and you must appeal. Get CA to complete the appeal. They know exactly the right words to write to ensure success! With very best wishes to you.
    Maureen x

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Wendy, I want to thank you. Your book and the subsequent blog posts it led me to, have truly rescued me. I don’t have dementia, but I am caring for my stepdad who does. His vascular dementia which had only been a vague concern, took siege of his life a year ago when my Mum died. I have spent a year doing everything I can to understand and to help -both for him and to honour the memory of my darling Mum who adored him. Your words have given me an insight like nothing, and no one have (including the professionals). I can relate to so many of your poignant accounts of life with dementia. I know that every story of an individual and their families living with dementia is different, but your eloquence, courage and inspiration have brought a new level of understanding and ability to cope through the threads of connection that bind us all. Again – thank you x

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Hi Wendy, I’m from Colombia. I wanted you to know that I just finished your book, I had the intention of reading due a homework I had for the University, however, I was so amazed reading it that I didn’t do my homework. I really like the way you expressed those dark moments, because you made me understand how dementia looks like and may feel like. I don’t have friends or family with it, but it does not mean that I can encounter situations like this with other people, and thanks to your book and you, now I can put myself in their shoes. Thanks a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi Wendy! I am another of those people who read your book which I picked up in the hotel in Cyprus whilst on holiday. Congratulations as clearly you are an inspiration to lots of people. I will pass on your book to someone who will read it. Keep up the good work. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Dear Wendy, I am living in Germany and am going to Highschool now. In one month we will have a few exams and one of those will be a presentation about a Thema, which we can choose by ourselves. My friend and me have chosen Alzheimer, because we thought that this might be very interesting. First I just wanted to talk about the therapy methods and such things, but after I have found your book via Internet, my priorities changed. Your book gave me a completely new view on people, who live with dementia. It is now much easier for me to understand, how this people are feeling and how to behave in different situations. I want to explain the things I have learned to our listeners, for telling them that there isn’t just an End, but also a beginning. I also want to become a doctor, so it was very helpful to learn something about the ,right language’, which you mentioned in your book.
    I am writing this for just saying thank you! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, for staying positive and giving hope to so many people!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I would like to say Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing ”Somebody I used to know”. As a psychologist it is beyond valuable to get the inside thoughts from people, regardless of what they live or struggle with, and you have given me the best advise and ideal on how to help other people help themselves or their loved ones. Thank you and good luck with your next adventure! I’m looking forward reading all about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Hello Wendy. I just this minute finished your honest and illuminating book. Just want to let you know that I admire your positive attitude, courage and fortitude in the midst of what must be a confusing and difficult time in your life. You have touched me to the core and opened new understanding of what my precious and beautiful friend is currently suffering. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your willingness to so openly share your courageous journey. You have touched me–and countless others–beyond words. With deep gratitude. I wish you Godspeed now and in your future. Sharon

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Dear Wendy, I am a Care Assistant in the Memory Lane Unit of a Nursing Home in Surrey. Your book was one that was recommended to us on our Dementia Training Course and hope it isn’t wrong of me to say how much I enjoyed reading it. We, as Carers, can only imagine what those Living with Dementia are thinking or feeling and do our very best to support, comfort and enhance their day to day lives. We get to know their personalities and their likes and dislikes and through conversations with family members, friends and Memory Boxes get to know the person they once were before this cruel disease took it’s hold. If there is one thing that has really stayed with me when reading your book, it’s when you said those Living with Dementia won’t always remember what you said to them, but they will remember how they felt! Very powerful🥰🥰.

    Wendy, thank you for writing your book and for all the fantastic work you have done and continue to do In the pursuit of understanding, and hopefully one day finding a cure for this terrible disease.

    Much Love
    Karen

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Hi Wendy 😁 what a fascinating insight into your brave and truly inspirational world that you have created, from being diagnosed with this cruel disease…. it will hopefully enable those who have been diagnosed with the disease to know that they can still be a valued part of society if they want to be and are able to be. One of the saddest things it seems is that there is just not enough education or information readily available for carers or early onset sufferers …particularly husbands and wife’s who are going it alone out there, maybe with no other family to help them and who don’t have instant electronic access to the outside world….my nan had it …albeit in the days before it was ever really talked about ….and I know that it broke my mums heart to see her the way she was and then broke it again when she had to go into a home and then again when she eventually lost her, mum isn’t here now, but I know that the sadness of it never left her. But hopefully with the technology that is available to us now and if what you are doing can help either a sufferer diagnosed in early stages or a carer of a loved one with the disease, then I think that any of us that have been affected by it or who perhaps may be in the future can’t thankyou enough 😁😁, thank heavens you still know how to use your fingers!! 😂👇🖐️

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Wendy, what can I say. A most wonderful read which had me close to years on many occasions. My daughter (12 at the time) and I became dementia friends a few years back. We all have preconceived ideas about the disease, which you write about so eloquently, but the meeting we went to about it put paid to all that!
    You are an inspiration to anyone either with the disease or who knows someone with it. Your daughters are extremely lucky to have you as their mother and they must be very proud.
    Keep up the excellent work.
    Best wishes.
    Natasha 👏😊

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Dear Wendy,

    I hope you don’t mind me using your site to talk about a project that I am trying to get off the ground for all people living with dementia and their families and supporters.

    My mother died of vascular dementia in December 2019, but she had a very full and happy life for two whole years after her diagnosis. I think this was largely because I am in the fortunate position to work in healthcare innovation and research for new products. I was able to buy her several innovations which kept her active and involved with her groups including University of the Third Age, right up until she had a major stroke in September. A lot of the health and care professionals working with us asked me about the technology that I brought into her flat, and I frequently advised them on what was available and where to find it. It has always struck me as wrong that this is specialist knowledge.

    Everyone affected by dementia should be able to find out about all options available to help them live their best lives. To this end I am seeking government funding to establish a website and resources to help people find what they need, when they need it. Part of the application requirement is to prove that there is a need.

    I have created an online questionnaire that takes about 5 minutes to complete. It is for anyone with personal experience of dementia, whether living with dementia or supporting someone, professionally or personally.

    If you, or any of your followers could complete the questionnaire it would be incredibly helpful.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/summary/XQxan5TDAnT4Wf_2FnlQz7Fy6lgz4rtI70QXTbmhW9jw_2BKnpVIvl6S35n7AzwgxFm1

    Liked by 2 people

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