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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 61 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.

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.

 

 

336 thoughts on “Home

  1. Thats really good. I was just thinking that perhaps people with dementia could be helped to reach their core being, free from memories, and even relatives, and be able to let go, rather than trying to hold on.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Have any of you ever done any research on Glutathione. It does have beneficial results for Alzheimer ‘s. It restores damaged cells. It is a must read. 🌺

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  2. Firstly congratulations on a superb book. My copy arrived this morning and I’ve finished it , in a day ! I work in the field of older people’s health and thought I ” knew” dementia . You’ve inspired me with renewed passion and I can’t wait to get back to work and share your story . Keep well and of course thank you .

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Wendy
        I’d like to say how much I enjoyed your interview on the program 7.30 report here in Australia …thank you ..Thomas

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  3. Great that you say you are living with dementia rather than suffering from it . The original meaning of the word suffering is allow / accept / live with . As in the Bible ‘ suffer the little children …’
    I think it’s good to stick with the original meaning in many ways .
    You are doing a great job

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Hi Wendy, I’ve just listened to thee podcast of the Radio 4 adaptation of your book. Not only is it informative and educational, it also happens to be a beautiful piece of writing. I’m Inspired and motivated by what I have heard.
    Thank you dear lady.
    X

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My partner has just been diagnosed with early onset dementia, I had heard about your book and wanted to listen to you reading it to such a large audience, but lost the courage to leave it on because I thought it might be distressing for my partner. It is such a painful time for us and, like you. I have to read and learn as much as I can but he doesn’t want to know anything about it, although he is a very intelligent person. I shall download your book so at some time we can listen to it together. It’s early days and we have a lot to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Am going to see my parents this weekend who live in Beverley. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I will look out for your book when I get there and hope that my mother is able to read it. I definitely will.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Wendy your reading on radio 4 this week have made me laugh and cry but mostly made me think. I am caring for my mum and we have had some dismal times recently but your words have given me hope and a better understanding of what mum is going through and why she does some of the things she does. Thank you

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  8. Hi Wendy, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful book. I’m no stranger to dementia, my late mum had it and now my best friend Max has been diagnosed with it at the age of 54. Your writing has touched and inspired me. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Wendy, I am now on chapter 12 of your book that I am listening to in Audible.
    My husband has not yet been diagnosed with Alzeihmer but I suspect that is the cause of his memory loss. I am very panicky about it because my two daughters live abroad and have busy ives.. I was very inspired by your love towards your daughters that made you decide you did not want them to be your carers….. I had been feeling very sorry for myself and wished that they live nearer and share the care of my husband and myself…. Your brave struggle to do it solo has inspired me… No, it is not fair to put this burden on their shoulders…
    At the moment I am trying to plan as far as I can to make it possible to remain in our home as long as possible….
    Thank you for letting me and your other readers into your life with Alzeihmers and the ingenious ways you have found to cope with it….
    It is true that one has not got to throw the towel the minute one is diagnosed.
    Like you I like to record my experiences in a diary and I will do so .
    Thank you again for the lessons contained in your beautiful and inspiring book
    Veronica18

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  10. Hi Wendy, listening to some of your book on Radio 4 last week made me laugh and cry. My dear old mum of 80 is going through the process of being diagnosed, we think, with Alzheimer’s. Her mother had it as did my father in law. I was a nurse and my husband is a GP but nothing prepares you for a parent with dementia. Now having read your book over 2 days I have a little more understanding of your perspective which will I hope help me enormously with my mum. Thank you so much for your bravery and determination to make the most of what you feel and to share it with others so that we may learn more. I will follow your blog with interest. Alison

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was diagnosed with early stage dementia about 8 months ago.
        We had moved into a city centre apartment in Manchester when we retired 14 years ago,aged 60, as we wanted to do lots of travelling and felt it was more secure leaving our apartment unlike many who opt for a house on the coast or countryside.
        This decision has proved to be the right one ,in fact a real bonus .
        We are amazed at the wonderful service we get from the NHS here ,from specialist nurses who regularly come to see us in our home , also groups that we can attend on a regular basis .
        My carer,my husband also has access to support groups and specialist nurses.
        The medical centre and our caring GP,s are very supportive too..we just feel so blessed!
        I had cancer 7 years ago and were also blessed with the most incredible care from Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Christie ,both on our ‘doorstep ‘
        I do at times feel a bit down ,saying why me?,but then I realise it should be why not
        Dorothy Thomas

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Just finished your book Wendy. It is brilliant, thank you for writing it and sharing your experiences. Do you still manage to get out in your garden? I am a gardener you see so I wondered!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Siobhan😊 Yes I love to potter in the garden although I’m not as good as I use to be as I forget where I’ve planted everything -ha! Can’t wait to start planting summer seeds…😊

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  12. I have just finished reading your wonderful book: its positivity is truly inspiring and I just wish we’d had some of the insights you’ve given us to make life for our late Mum, a little easier. Thank you for sharing and enlightening us all from the other side.🙂

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  13. Hi Wendy, I am about to finish your book and I wanted to tell you how much strength and inspiration it gave me. My mother in law lived with alzeimer years ago and I tried to help as much as I could and your book would have been a huge relief at that time … but I keep thinking that you’re right, whatever we do as long as full of love is the best we can … no regret … my mother had a stroke accident as well years ago and since then struggles. One day I visited she wouldn’t recognise me but had a huge smile on her face seeing me. At the time it broke my heart and the nurse kindly took me away a couple of minutes as I was shaking. Now I understand having read you, she couldnt put a name on my face but she knew by instinct I was someone she loved deeply. And that’s what is important. That brought a huge sense of relief and emotion of course. So thank you Wendy. And even if everyone already said it I’ll join them, you’re such an inspiration, i wish you and your daughters all the best, I’ll keep following you Bea xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear Mrs Mitchell

    I’m an early octganerian and don’t have dementia though I’ve long been a donor for Brains for Dementia here in London where I live, hence your book’s title drew me towards buying the tome.

    I have a great love of words and what strikes me powerfully about reading your book – apart from your wonderful selflessness, courage and intelligence – is that you too clearly have a feeling for words. Unfailngly you do what all good writers do, viz paint vivid pictures so that the reader virtually ‘lives’ the scenarios you variously depict. Several times as I absorbed your narrative I wondered why you’ve not written anything before the onset of your present condition. (Probably far too busy earning a living and occoupied as a single mum with bringing up your family I guess.) With the abundant skills you obviously have in this connection the more I was consumed by your amazing and moving story; increasingly I kept asking myself why is it that this is the first I’ve heard of you. I muse as to whether or not the prospect of writing ever occurred to you in your younger self….

    What an immense privilege it is to be able to convey these thoughts to you and how generous to volunteer your email address for such purpose – part of what I meant in commenting about your selflessness.

    I’m not merely dispirited but staggered that in the early part of the twenty-first century we seem to know so little about this disease. You are doing a gigantic service in helping redress this situation. If I had sixteen hats I’d take off every one of them to you in tribute to a truly remarkable lady.

    Warmest best wishes

    DH

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  15. I have just finished your wonderful book it’s so inspiring yet heartbreaking at the same time , my husband was diagnosed in 2013 with Dementia , and is now getting lots of support groups etc but I find there’s not much known about it and have been really fearful and worried your book has given me so much to cling to and understand , and I love the way you say dementia has a beginning middle and end I think we are in the middle but this book will help me reach the end better more aware of what’s to come , I have also read still Alice and found that book inspiring also thank you for all your strength and tenacity, and I wish you both and your delightful daughters all the best with love and thanks . Michele WillinghamXx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Wendy

    I loved your book, it was so honest and thoughtful.

    I’ve spent time as a volunteer befriender with people living with dementia, through a very small charity in north London. It still amazes me how little is known about dementia – and how it affects the lives of so many.

    I really admire you for all the work you’re dong to raise awareness, we need people like you!

    All the best to you and your family.

    Luisa

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have just finished your book and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I work in social care and am a Dementia Awareness Facilitator. What you have so beautifully written has inspired me and I will be recommending your book to my colleagues.Thank you for sharing your journey, I have enjoyed reading it. You are an inspiration!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I have just finished reading your book. Mum was diagnosed early last year and this has given me a much better insight into what has been happening to her and why some things are so much harder than others. Thought provoking and inspiring. Thankyou so much

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your book is an inspiring read, Wendy and beautifully written. Thank you for allowing us into your life and sharing some of the experiences of your journey. I lost my Mum in January to dementia, not early onset, and wish I’d had your book to help me understand what she was going through particularly in the early stages. I will recommend your book to those I know are now on their journey. Thankyou and I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you Wendy for your wonderful book. We are waiting for a diagnosis for my mum. Appointment with the Memory Clinic next week. You have given me an insight into my mum’s behaviour and helped me to know how to respond. I shall follow your blog.
    Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Just finished your book, passed onto me by my Dad who read it in a day, he really enjoyed it as did I, Mum a librarian and book lover before dementia stole her reading along with most of her speech I am sure would have loved it too . Maybe I can now see the posters saying “it is possible to live well with dementia” and not get angry and think it’s a lie. Sending love and best wishes to you and your family xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hello Wendy, I hope you are having a good day today. I’ve just listened to you talking with Jeremy Vine, what a super lady you are. I so much enjoyed listening to the extracts from your book being read on Woman’s Hour too.

    I heard you tell Jeremy that you play online Scrabble, would you maybe like to play with me too? I am housebound due to osteoporosis and like you, loved my job at the NHS prior to this.

    I do understand if playing having too many Scrabble games in the go, is too much for you, but I would enjoy the challenge of a game with you.

    Kindest wishes and sending love and light.

    Suze xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wendy Michell, you are a real inspiration! just listened to your interview on the Jeremy Vine radio show, listening on the internet from Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Originally from Cottingham so I have fond memories of your home-village. Your positive attitude to outwit Dementia was very heartwarming, so grateful that you promote awareness to this condition and such great tips to battle the mind tricks. Your book is now on my must read list.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Dear Wendy,

    I would just like to say that I have really enjoyed reading your book and think you are truly inspirational. I work as a carer in a care home, and I wanted to read your story to learn more about experiences of early stage dementia rather than just the late stage. Reading your book will definitely help me in my work!
    I wish you and your family all the very best!
    Rachael

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Wendy, I have just finished reading your book, which is one hell of an achievement. It has given me additional insights into my husband’s early-onset Alzheimer’s (he’s now classed as “moderate”) and will enable me to be more understanding of the some of the more annoying aspects of the disease!! Thank you so much xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you Wendy for a very insightful book. I am an Occupational Therapist and deliver training in my Trust on dementia and delivering Patient Centred Care. I will definitely be including some of the information within your book which so eloquently describe the experience of somebody living with dementia. Your strategies for dealing with life’s challenges are inspirational and demonstrate what is possible. I was also very challenged by your feelings when experiencing the memory tests. When I carry out such tests I am always very keen to put people at their ease but I realise now that in doing so have been guilty of almost trying to pretend that I am not carrying out a test. I have never discussed the results with the person, not wanting to make them feel awkward or uncomfortable. It honestly never really occurred to me that the person will have had the test before and may want to discuss how they have managed, I am ashamed to say. Thank you for challenging me – I will try to be more mindful and give people the opportunity to discuss this if they would like to in future.
    Another thing which struck me in your book is your honesty and openness with those you meet about your diagnosis, and the results of this. It was heartening to hear of the many people who have responded with kindness and compassion once they understand your struggles, showing the importance of raising awareness in our communities about how we can support those living with dementia. Thank youvery much for a very thought provoking read.

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  27. Hi Wendy, your book inspired a song! Thought you might like to hear it (It’s just a rough demo) I am a singer-songwriter and busker and make my own instruments, mainly Cigar Box Guitars, but the one I use on this song is made from an old First Aid Kit tin that my parents used to use…
    Here’s a link to the song. https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=cOxYcCHyXSU&video_referrer=watch
    Hope it was ok to give a link under it to your book and blog??
    Belinda

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Hi Wendy I have just finished your book. It was so inspiring. My mum was diagnosed 4 years ago but sadly while dad was alive they chose to avoid any mention of it as they were both scared that people would judge them. I’m so glad you were brave enough to tell it as it is. It’s helped me to have a better understanding of mum’s anxieties and given me loads of ideas to try! Thankyou 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hello Wendy ,I have just finished reading your book and felt I must join your blog and keep in touch with you. I don’t have dementia myself but have a family member with memory problems at 58 years old.i wanted to be able to understand what dementia was so that I am better able to help her.thankyou so much for your wonderful book,look forward to following you! Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

  30. WENDY
    I heard your book being read on Radio 4 and then ordered a copy. I finished reading it about an hour ago.
    I have a relative I strongly suspect is in the early stages of dementia but avoids doctors and medical advice. I am trying to follow this up but very diplomatically as its an awkward family situation. Thank you for your imsights.
    Your book was so beautifully written it was a pleasure to listen to even if the subject was difficult. I read it almost in one sitting while the entire country here (I’m writing from Dublin) is snowbound and housebound.
    I plan to share the book with friends, although I suspect the author in you would prefer they bought their own copy. (that’s a joke!!)

    Again thanks
    Helen F

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hi Wendy.
    I watched you on Good Morning and saw what a strong woman you are.
    I don’t know and have never met anyone with Dementia but the insight you gave was incredible. I have now finished reading your book it was a warm and inspiring, you are a wonderfully strong lady,good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Wendy, I have so enjoyed your book. It’s beautifully written – and how poignant are the passages to your former self! What an insight into the world of someone with dementia – how the confusion can descend – what it feels like and how emotions can run riot.  But also how some grit, practicality and sheer determination can make it possible to adapt and live well.  So many tips – how useful, for example – to understand how vision changes – that dark things look like voids, how mirrors don’t look like they are part of the wall and how cupboards can just not be apparent at all. 
    My dad had dementia and it was so sad to see someone so intelligent lose more and more of themselves. He did still manage to make us laugh though – like the time in the care home when he caused chaos by keeping on opening the front door. None of the residents could remember the number code to release the door but he retained enough wit to understand that the sticker on the button next to the door which said “emergency exit” meant freedom – so he would press the button. In the end they removed the sticker so, of course, he could no longer remember what the button was for.
    I think he knew who I was pretty much all of the time, even up to the end, because I saw him regularly. So you may find you do not forget your girls either. I know it’s your greatest fear but they will know you and love you anyway – just as you would do if the roles were reversed.
    All the very best for your journey – thank you so much for such a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Your book is such an inspiration. It’s given me an insight into dementia that I’ve never come across before. I’m a GP in New Zealand (yes, your book is down-under too now 😊) and I’ll be telling all my fellow GPs to read it! I used what you have taught me in a consultation today – we never stop learning, and the best thing is when my patients get to benefit from something I’ve enjoyed so much. Thank you! Stay strong and hold onto the love that’s all around you.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hi Wendy, I was listening to Jeremy Vine on radio 2 when you came on his show, I immediately ordered your book, not because I know anyone suffering this awful disease but because you were so brave and intersting to listen to. I have now read your wonderful book and am going to pass it on to my 27 year old daughter whom I’m sure will feel the same as I do. Thank you for sharing this part of your life, you truly are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Hi Wendy I live in Australia and have just finished your book. It was amazing a beautiful read and gave me so much insight into this disease that my beautiful nan had as well. As a health professional u have opened my eyes to the importance of positive language. You are remarkable I wish you and ur girls all the very best. Katherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Hi Wendy, I’m so inspired to learn more about dementia from reading your book. I’m already enquiring about how I can make a difference in my area. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Wendy, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. My husband is living with dementia, it is quite advanced, and I am doing all I can, to help and assist him, and make him feel loved and needed always. He doesn’t recognise he has any problems. This book should be compulsory reading in high schools, medical schools etc, it is an amazing read. You have made me laugh and cry and I feel so proud of you. I thought I knew quite a lot about dementia, however, you have helped me so much. You are truly an amazing person and you have such lovely daughters, you must be very proud of them and they of you. Tasmania, Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Hi Wendy, I read your book in two days whilst on holidays in Queensland. I am 78 and my husband is 80 not that we have dementia but I think we are all thinking about it in this age group . You have shared so much information, for which I thank you. My family think I am obsessed but you have shown such courage in the way you are handling it with the love and support of your girls. I am sure a lot will find comfort in the way you are handling your early onset dementia. Looks like a lot of love all round the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Hi Wendy, I’ve just read your book and it was wonderfully written. My Aunty is 60 and has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. So much of your story resembles my Aunty and has helped me understand what life must be like for her. Thank you for your book and the amazing work you’re doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Hey Wendy Ive just finished your book and can I say it bought me too tears and it truly made me understand on what my nan went through. Your daughters and yourself must be so proud of yourself on how you have handled this and not letting it beat you. Your story gave me goosebumps and all the warm feelings your an amazing woman and thank you for telling your story… Much love from Melbourne, Australia Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Dear Ms. Mitchell, Thank you! I have also just finished reading your extraordinary book: a warm, passionate and eloquent story of how to “live with dementia”. The most important message I took away is this: someone living with dementia may not always remember people and places, but they will remember how they made them feel. It will help me when I assist my neighbour who is living with it. The book teaches us, the uninformed, of what matters to those living with dementia, and to appreciate the effort that someone with dementia must make to lead their daily lives and overcome their anxiety [so many of the aids you develop in the book remind me of those used by people struggling with anxiety]. One last thought: should Dementia Friends ask some Latin scholar to come up with a better word for the disease, with less of the connotations that fool those of us who are (or were) uninformed?

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