27th October 2022

I try to keep one step ahead, outwitting and outmanoeuvering dementia at every stage. 

Bestselling author Wendy Mitchell, who lives with dementia, was the guest speaker at a special event in Salisbury last night. She was in Wiltshire at the invitation of Salisbury Memory Support Group, a group of people living with dementia who meet weekly, and the evening before their meeting, spoke to an audience of 60 as a fundraiser for Alzheimer's Support.

Wendy was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 58 when she was worked as an administrator in the NHS.  Told she was no longer able to work, and with no support from local health services, she found a new purpose in life campaigning for the rights of people living with dementia. 

She told her audience: "I'm not saying it's plain sailing because it isn't. But if you look at the diagnosis as the start of a different life, it makes life so much calmer and less stressful."

She said she treated her dementia as an adversary to stay one step ahead of, making adaptations all the time and trying to avoid letting people do things for her. "My daughters were being kind when they started to help me into my coat. But then I started to find it hard to put my coat on on my own. I said to my daughters you'll have to stop, otherwise you'll have to come around to help me into my coat every time I go out. They stopped straightaway."

She also talked about the lack of support at diagnosis, arguing that because there is little clinical treatment, the medical profession too often present the diagnosis as the 'end of the road', when in fact there is so much that people can still do and enjoy. 

Among the audience were members of the Memory Support Group and a visitor from Canada who had read Wendy's books and was thrilled to find out she was speaking in the town she happened to be visiting in the UK.

Sarah Marriott, CEO of Alzheimer's Support, pictured below right with Wendy, said: "It was truly inspiring to hear Wendy speak again, and so many thanks to Jane Ebel and the Memory Support Group for inviting her to Wiltshire."

To keep up with Wendy's ideas and activities, follow her blog Which Me is it Today