Our Dementia Diary

Irene, Alzheimer's and Me

Rachael Dixey

 
Date Published :
July 2016
Publisher :
Medina Publishing
Illustration :
12pp Color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781909339736
Pages : 158
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.25 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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$12.95

Overview
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This is a love story from start to finish, Irene and Rachael's. Based on the diaries of Rachael Dixey who looked after her civil partner Irene after she developed early onset Alzheimer's disease, the book opens with the lines: Irene, Alzheimer's and me - Alzheimer's came between us. It does that, drives you and the love of your life apart, going your separate ways because you cannot follow. That's the story really, that's it. The end. But it is also the beginning of the story, which shows how life can still be lived despite losing a life partner to dementia, and how to cope emotionally and practically with a disease that robs you of your loved one a thousand times before they die.

The story charts the daily decline and inexorable loss of Irene to dementia. With the dramatic deterioration in Irene's health Rachael turns from lover and soul mate to career and, finally, single woman. Eventually, no longer able to cope with Irene at home, she makes the agonizing decision to allow Irene to be put in a care home. There she spent her last six years. When she died aged 66, the couple had spent half their life together.

This book is a powerful and moving account of the progression of dementia, and raises serious questions about how our society cares for those who develop the disease, especially at a young age and in the gay, lesbian community. It also deals with loss and grief, during the illness and afterwards. Their memoir will be invaluable for anyone affected by dementia, those working in mental health and those caring for a loved one with a life-changing and incurable illness.

Our Dementia Diary tells with brutal honesty of love, loss and life with Alzheimer's and opens up discussion of how dementia can be handled better.

About The Author
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Rachael and Irene met in 1980, when Irene was a bubbly, funny and warmhearted young teacher and Rachael, seven years her junior, a budding academic specializing in health and development. The realization of their love for each other came simultaneously and suddenly and led to a partnership that lasted half a lifetime. With shared zest for life, they traveled widely, worked hard and expected to grow old together in their home in the North of England. When Irene was only in her early 50s she started to falter. When she was finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, Rachael looked after her as long as possible at home.

REVIEWS
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This is a remarkably honest story of the enduring love between two people coping with uncertainty and the eventual loneliness of losing a spouse... Written by an author based in the UK gives us Americans a refreshing expression of care between partners. Her writing is characterized as informed humility. We gain greater awareness and knowledge of what it's like to live with Alzheimer's while feeling the angst and pain of losing her soulmate... I'm glad she chose to write, Our Dementia Diary - Irene, Alzheimer's and Me and that her and Irene's story is being shared. The LGBT caregiver's voice is one that needs to be heard.

- The Caregiver's Voice Review, October 2016

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