Listening to my aunt tell the the story of my uncle’s heartbreaking illness and eventual death from dementia last year, made me realise that this is a condition that takes away the last years of a persons lives in the most devastating way for both the patient and the carers.
Dementia is an illness that increasingly affects more and more people and it’s something that is becoming more talked about in books, films and plays. Monday’s Women’s Hour opened up the conversation around the subject and featured interviews with novelist Helen FitzGerald whose latest book, The Exit, tells the story of a woman in her eighties with dementia and Sally Magnusson, whose memoir, Where Memories Go is about the life of her mother and the way it is changed by dementia. Both are worth reading if you are caring for someone with the illness, as is the novel, Elizabeth is Missing, inspired by author Amma Healey’s grandmother.
Julianne Moore won a BAFTA and is nominated for an Oscar for her latest film, Still Alice where she plays a woman in her fifties diagnosed with early onset dementia – which is a terrifying thought. It is a sob inducing, honest view of a horrible illness and well worth seeing – when you are feeling strong!