This Richard and Judy Book Club Pick 2019, is a powerful and compelling memoir written by Wendy Mitchell, who is living with young onset dementia. Wendy spent twenty years as a non-clinical team leader in the NHS before being diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia in July 2014 at the age of fifty-eight.
The book is a first of its kind, giving Wendy’s account of her illness first hand as she lives with, and adjusts to, the changes to her life as the disease slowly progresses. Wendy makes you feel very much a part of her journey which gives the reader a great insight and understanding into what it is life for the person living with the disease. Her portrayal of her journey from the first confusing symptoms are positive and offer a very practical guide to ‘living with’ Dementia – such as setting alarms on her ipad to remind her to eat and take her meds.
Wendy shows great strength and fortitude throughout the book which darts back and forth from the past, where she is remembered as someone with an amazing memory and a zeal for life, into the present where she vividly describes the brain fog, the falls, the ‘black holes’ in her memory. The flashbacks give a real sense of the woman Wendy Mitchell once was, and her story now is a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.
Shocked by the lack of awareness about the disease, both in the community and in hospitals, Wendy has vowed to spend her time raising awareness about dementia and encouraging others to see there is life after a diagnosis. She is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.