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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.

 

 

524 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hi Wendy…I just finished reading your book and I wanted to say thank you for writing it. My father-in-law died with dementia and a sister-in-law is living with it. After reading your book my eyes were opened to so much of what they were, and are, living with on a daily basis. Oh the challenges…you have been so brave, so determined and so smart to figure out ways to outsmart the disease when it has tried to rob you of so many of your everyday activities. Thank you for not throwing in the towel and just giving up. I know your story has inspired and given hope to many. May God bless you and walk with you every day of this journey!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Wendy, I just have finished reading your book. It is so mind opening! As a Personal Carer worker I have clients with dementia and your book gave me a new perspective on how to connect with them. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Wendy, Thank you so much for all you are contributing to our understanding of dementia. My mother has been living with, and trying to hide her condition for several years. You have helped me understand the time periods when she is “ away” mentally, and our relationship is better than it has ever been. I support your strength and courage in this important cause!! God bless you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have recently been told that I have symptoms of Dementia and that I should prepare myself for the future….. I don’t feel that this is the future for me, and I believe that this has caused me many questions in my present life as well as about my future…. I have slowed down on my activities, especially at the request of my husband, but I believe this has been more of a problem than a benefit. My friends don’t understand my distance and appear questionable but remain available. My husband and I have become distant, he seems to feel that I don’t understand why I question his necessity to tell me how to apply myself to everyday functions. ????? Please advise….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Alice……those closet to us often find it the hardest ….concentrate on what you CAN do and ignore what you can’t. There’s always a way to adapt. Your husband might understand more if he read my book, Somebody I Used to Know. Sending hugs.xx

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    2. Your book simply took my breath away ,I read it in one sitting. If this doesn’t help people with Dementia I don’t know what will, you take the reader along with every line about what is actually a terrifying subject, made so through lack of understanding for the person who has it.You have a wonderful store of memories and love and they will remain inside you forever, perhaps difficult to retrieve sometimes but your love for people and your immense kindness is astounding. I wish you the very best on your journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are many different types of dementia, Alzheimers is just one, there’s also Vascular, Lewy Body. Frontptemporel and many more. Alzheimer’s is just the most common form of dementia.

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      1. What happens to us is inevitable but no point in dwelling on something over which we have no control. Instead enjoy today and what you CAN do and if today is a bad day tomorrow may be better😊x

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  5. Hi Wendy I have just finished reading your book and was so moved by it. My mother had Alzheimer’s. Your book gave me more understanding of what she would have gone through. I have been frightened myself of getting it but you have given me a lot of hope. I am so thankful for the information you have given.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Wendy like Lizzie my mum has Alzheimer and I also worry about it affecting me especially as I have always had trouble recognising people or recalling their name.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much for your beautiful book, Wendy. I have been listening to it on Audible. My mom has dementia, and you have helped me understand what she is going through. I understand now why she writes everything down and goes over and over things. While I have cried over some of the things that you have written about, I am so grateful and hopeful now for the future. I love my mom beyond words, and anything that helps me help her is a blessing. YOU are a blessing, Wendy. God bless you and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Wendy. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 60 she’s now 70. My aunt sent me your book today and I haven’t put it down yet I’ve read over 100 pages.
    Very moving xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Wendy, I just finished reading your book, it made me smile, laugh, and cry so many times. Such a moving account and so so important. It should be required reading for anyone working in health care …and customer services …or really anyone!

    Wishing you all of the best,

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Wendy. Thank you for helping me understand what my darling sister is going through. I have read your book . And have suggested my sister read it too, to help her maybe a little, know she is not alone. She is today 68 years young, I am 64 as of yesterday, and i will be requesting a test before too long, my sister has been diagnosed 2 years now thank you again. You have my hearts gratitude..

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! I have just finished reading your book as part of me beginning my journey to a social work degree and it was such an eye opening insight that I could have never imagined. You are truly inspiring – that you should never give up in life, you should always keep going no matter what. I hope you have really helped people who know others with Dementia and I congratulate you on such an amazing life you live. Your daughters must be proud and I thank you again for giving me this opportunity to learn more about this condition that I would have never come across otherwise. It was an amazing read. I hope your future continues to fulfil your wishes xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Omg Wendy you are such an inspiration, just finished your book which I have had to save to read on my holidays so I received no intruptions it was Utterly amazing , everyone looking and caring for a relative or nursing staff can learn from this .. I nursed for 30 years and would like to hope I helped dementia people to feel safe . As well as my special mam I lost two year ago to the cruel illness .
    Thank you so much .
    Love to your two girls helping you Iive your life as you no best and being at hand when needed such an amazing bond between mams a girls , miss mine so much …
    Carry on fighting you good cause Wendy such a trooper xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Just started reading your book. You are so amazing and I love your positive outlook. My sister was diagnosed with dementia 3 years ago but she is in denial. We live in different states in the US, and she lives alone. She’s still driving but is having increasing challenges with operating her phones, tv and computer. Thankfully she has a friend that takes her to her doctors appointments so I can get an update of how she’s doing. I think she would benefit from inhome help with household chores a few days per week, but she is totally resistant. It’s a challenge living so far away from her. Thank you for sharing your story. It is so helpful to so many!

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  14. Thank you Wendy. I have just finished reading your book. My sister was diagnosed with dementia and all the things that confused me and often made me frustrated…you have made me realise how proud I am of my sister for putting in place things to make her life bearable and organised. I don’t want this to be the elephant in the room. I want people to know and understand my beautiful, loving and passionate sister is still the same person. I live in Australia and in a heart beat would love to meet you. You are an amazing lady. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wendy, Hello. I just finished your book and am in awe quite frankly of your bravery and strength. You have put yourself out here and in doing so have educated more than dry academia ever could in my opinion. Thank you. Wishing you many more “cuppas” and sunny days.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Wendy, how are you? I hope today is a good day for you.
    I have just finished reading your book. It has moved me deeply and Has inspired me greatly. My Nana had Alzheimer’s and unfortunately passed in 2002. From reading your book, 16 years after her death, I now feel I have an understanding and a glimpse at what life was like for her. Your book back then would have given me the strength and understanding to support her and help her to live her life to the full. I take great comfort in your words regarding how the memory may fade but the emotion never leaves….this validates for me that her smile when loved ones came to visit was genuine and a reality we could embrace with her. Thank you dearly for enlightening me with this. Thank you for the work you have done, the research you have benefitted and for the wonderful, caring woman that you are. Keep living your best life xxxx

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  17. Hello Wendy
    I heard your book on Radio4 which made me want to read it. I found it both moving and enjoyable. not too much of a contradiction I hope. I enjoyed reading of your enthusiasm,determination and resourcefulness. Parts such as explaining to your colleagues about your dementia were a positive education. Thank you for producing such a valuable and inspiring book.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. YOUR LOVELY BOOK (AND ONE CALLED STILL ALICE) HAVE SO HELPED ME COME TO TERMS WITH THIS HELLUVA CHALLENGE! I PREVIOUSLY HAD A FANTASTIC LIFE –
    TRAVELLING THE WORLD WORKING IN ORPHANAGES AND TEACHING ENGLISH AND BEING CONFIDENT AND HAPPY. NOW THE FACEBOOK REPLIES AND INFORMATION HELP ME NO END. I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THIS: I’VE GOT USED TO MY ARTHRITIS, TO MY DENTURES I’M RESIGNED. i CAN COPE WITH MY BIFOCALS – BUT gOD I MISS MY MIND. IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE SMALL G IN GOD, I WOULD CLAIM IT AS MINE!

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  19. I read the article published just recently in the New York times about your journey with Alzheimer’s which lead me to your blog. I have information which will help you and some of the people who follow you. Six years ago my husband Dennis N Crouse who is a scientist began researching ways to help his mother who had late onset Alzheimer’s. After reading the scientific literature for a few years (now he has been 6 years of reading the literature) he found ways to help his mother. Being a scientist he knew he needed to find the cause of the disease before he could find a treatment for his mother. The progression of the disease in my mother in law has stopped and there have been gains in my mother in laws short term memory and her overall functioning. She has been drinking silica rich mineral water for 2 years, has eliminated some major sources of aluminum and has added a few supplements to promote brain health. Aluminum is a causal factor of Alzheimer’s and the good news is Silica rich mineral water is effective at removing aluminum from our bodies and brains. My husband was compelled to write a book and I am passionate about sharing this information. The first chapter of my husbands book is available at our website. The title of the book is Prevent Alzheimer’s Autism and Stroke with 7 Supplements, 7 Lifestyle choices and a Dissolved Mineral.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Wendy,

    I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you via your blog / website. I am a psychology postgraduate in ageing research with the University of New South Wales, Sydney, exploring the lived experience of ageing with a team of researchers led by Professor Jill Bennett. Our research here at UNSW includes unique ways (with immersive visualisation technology) of conveying stories of those living with dementia (please see link to our website – added to the field below).

    We are a team of researchers whose expertise is providing virtual environments through experimental art, conveying the subjective experience and stories of individuals who has shared something about their own personal struggles. We want to collaborate with individuals such as yourself to share the experience of living with dementia. The aim of our research project is to provide a voice to those whose perceptual changes has significantly affected the way they need to live and the various adaptations they have made in their routine and life. Secondly, we hope to create an environment where people can momentarily ‘walk in another’s shoes’ and therefore better understand what it might be like living with dementia. Finally, we feel that it is important to reduce stigma that is unfortunately often associated with ageing or having dementia.

    Your book, advocacy work and daily tweets about dementia have been an inspiration to our research team. We would really love the opportunity of connecting with you and would invite you to collaborate with us on our project that we are currently working on. I am planning on being in London in November (6th – 12th) for a conference and I would be honoured to come and visit with you, if you had an hour free, at a time that is convenient to you. Please let us know if you would like to meet or hear more about our project. Many thanks & best regards, Natasha

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  21. I just finished your amazing book. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and your experience. I admire your courage and your strength in the face of adversity. I will draw on your example as I move through my own challenges.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It was an absolute privilege to hear you talk this morning at Appledore Book Festival in North Devon. It was wonderful to hear your unrelentingly positive attitude towards dealing with whatever life throws at you, which is now Alzheimer’s. You are an amazingly resilient woman and whatever the future has in store for you I know you will always have a huge body of friends and goodwill to support you. I know my mother had just started a conversation with you after the talk when our taxi arrived. She would have loved to have had more chance to talk. I think you are really brave to put yourself out there and with humour as well and long may it continue! The fact that you are so open is so unusual. A few people announce they have dementia but you are tackling it head on describing your symptoms and with practical suggestions as to how to deal with them. Brilliant the book is a bestseller but hardly a surprise! I am so looking forward to reading it. I am sure researchers are going to find your input vital. All the very best wishes for the future. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi Wendy, such an important book you have written. It should be a compulsory read for all health care professionals. You are truly an amazing person. The effort you put into managing your life is inspirational. I hope you are able to continue your public speaking role in educating and informing people of a disease which affects so many people.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi Wendy
    You are a true inspiration.
    My mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia aged 65 and is now 73 still lives alone with the aid of myself and a carer. Reading your book as helped me understand the everyday life my mum lives and I can relate to alot you say. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Good luck to you, Sarah, Gemma and Billy x

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Dear Wendy, I have just finished your book….what an emotional and inspirational journey.
    I am a Trustee of Alzheimercafeiow……iow stands for Isle of Wight 🙂 we have 7 Cafes on the Island which includes an Early Onset one. We started the first Cafe about 8 years ago and managed to get funding to start the rest. Each Cafe is monthly but all are on a different time and day of the month so people can go to several. I Coordinate the Totland one….take a look at our website.
    My daughter Kate is manager of Westview, a 36 bed Dementia home here in Totland and as you can imagine I am in there quite often 🙂
    At our Cafe, I hope you don’t mind if I use some small passages out of your book, as I’m sure it will help those living with Dementia and their Carers.
    Marion x

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hello Wendy. I attended your talk at the Appledore Book Festival last Saturday and was greatly inspired by it. I have told a number of friends about your journey and brilliant coping mechanisms. I also bought your book and will be passing it around to them after I finish it. Sorry to reduce your royalties that way, but I think it’s important for everyone to read it. My friends and I are mostly over 70 and all know someone who is compromised by the disease of dementia. I was thrilled to find out that by making some adaptations one can still live a normal life. Thank you for carrying on the way you do and informing all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hello Wendy, Your book has reached me here in Walnut Grove, Missouri, USA. I just finished it and have found it to be most enlightening. My wife (72) has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. I have of course been doing a lot of research about it but your book has given me more insight into what it is and what to expect than the research has provided. Thank you and my best wishes and thought go out to you.

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  28. Dear Wendy . I do not have the courage to read your book because I do not want confirmation of the diseases and my mind for the moment is refusing the idea that I will loose the love of my life.

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    1. Hello, Have just come across Wendy’s blog tonight. Have read all the replies and came upon yours. My husband was diagnosed with early onset dementia about 10 years ago. We just thought they were wrong. Loosing keys etc. was just ‘one of those things, when you’re 60! I, like you? have been in denial for so many years.
      He, at 72 now, has Parkinsons as well. I am still finding it incredibly difficult to accept. I am 11 years younger than him and my 2 children are still needy and are finding it difficult to think that there is anything ‘wrong’ with Daddy.
      My husband was a tall dark handsome army officer who swept me off my feet.
      Now he really is struggling to cope every day. I am very impatient and unsympathetic, I hate myself for being like this but feel very hard done by. I ask myself ‘what did I do to diserve this?’ The reaon I am on this site is that I felt that there were not enough heart felt stories relating to this problem. I was thinking about writing a blog myself.Your comments were the first that I related to.
      Thank you for that! Perhaps I might go on to do a day to day blog?
      My thoughts are with you and anything we can do to make this horrible situation more tolerable has to be embraced. Amanda xx

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Wendy, thank you for writing such a wonderful and helpful book. My Mum has young onset vascular dementia and Mum’s Mum died due to complications with Alzheimer’s There’s times where I get so defensive and protective of my Mum because I see Dad and the carers talk over her or about her. I’m forever checking them to talk to Mum. I see this little glint in Mum’s eye. It’s a silent thank you. I want to thank you for validating what I do for Mum. She’s housebound and has zero mobility but I know she’s in there.

    Thanks to your book (which I couldn’t put down and read over two days – not easy with a small baby to raise who wants my attention!) I had a 20 min chat with her on the phone. We’ve not had this in over a year. I used what I learned from you: I slowed my speech down a little. I paused. Asked short questions and we talked about my Gran. We laughed about what a practical joker she was. You gave me my Mum back for 20 mins and the next day I tried again. We ended up deciding what I’d cook for Christmas Day and how she’d help me. She can barely lift a fork to feed herself, but I didn’t correct her (I never do) and let her know she can’t help prepare dinner like she used to and she sounded excited.

    Your book also filled me with anxiety at times because you put down on paper my worst fears. I only hope that if my future involves a dementia diagnosis that I meet it head on like you. I consider you a friend that’s given me an insight into a world I try so hard to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I am yet another mind you reached out and touched. So many people with potential shut away in care homes or inside themselves with no purpose or function to their lives! Enjoy what you have – we are all here for such a short time. Lots of love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Dear Wendy,

    Thank you for writing your book. I learned so much and was heartened as read of your efforts to maintain your independence. It’s clear to me that you have a lively, intelligent mind, even now. You are a courageous woman.

    It was a pleasure to read about your daughters as well.

    All the best to you and to them,

    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Dear Wendy,
    Thank you ever so much for sharing your book. I am a third year student speech and language therapist, with a special interest in dementia. Your words have really helped me to understand something that I might previously have viewed through a clinical lens. I think it is so very important that we don’t lose sight of the people at the heart of a condition. Thank you again for all of your incredible work in this field.
    Warm wishes,
    Another Wendy.

    Liked by 1 person

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