Books: It will change your view of Alzheimer's
Wendy Mitchell's book Somebody I Used to Know is compelling reading for anyone with any level of interest in the insidious disease.
Wendy's account of her journey from being diagnosed with early onset dementia at age 58 through the slow process of brain decline is detailed and insightful. While it's not an easy subject to read about, Wendy has done a superb job at sharing the actions she has taken to outwit Alzheimer's and the experience of the slow memory decline.
Independent, gutsy, fit, efficient, a mother of two girls, with a successful career in non-clinical nursing and a job that entailed a huge amount of responsibility juggling staff rosters for hundreds of nurses, Wendy's realisation that all was not well with her health has led her on a journey through developing strategies to cope, thrive and for as long as possible, survive.
The UK mother first worked with her daughters to ensure they both had an understanding of the disease and then practically dealt with the legal details of enduring guardianship and caring roles.
From there Wendy created an amazing support structure at a personal and public level. The memory room, post-it note reminders, attending every kind of knowledge group and presentation, talking about the hard subjects such as euthanasia and anxiety - taking in and giving back at every stage.
There are moments of great sadness within the story, but also snapshots of the cheeky side to her warm character.
The way in which the books ends will have you airborne.
"I live for the moment. I don't plan any more. I just enjoy each day as it come," Wendy says.
Published by Bloomsbury, Wendy Mitchell and Anna Wharton's Somebody I Used to Know is available from bookshops and online. RRP $35.