'Maybe the number of good days will surprise you' - Author unable to write another book due to dementia puts pen to paper to give others hope
PUBLISHED: 16:36 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:02 28 November 2017
"Grab hold of the good days and enjoy them."
That was the advice given by a north Norfolk author diagnosed with dementia, who is determined to enjoy life to the full.
Alan Childs, 74, from Sheringham, was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, in February 2016 and although he dreamed of writing another book the effect the illness had on his concentration and dexterity made it impossible.
But rather than retreat into his illness, Mr Childs has used his writing skills to instead share his story and give others hope.
Mr Childs, who taught at primary and middle schools in Norfolk with a passion for English and history, retired in 1994. And with his passion for the county’s yesteryear and children’s books, he has since published around 20 titles.
His talent has allowed him to show his appreciation for the team who care for him from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) - and give hope to others with a similar diagnosis.
Mr Childs, who also enjoys going away on holidays, playing his clarinet and attending photography and painting classes, said: “All dementias are serious, but we have been wonderfully blessed on our journey by having a team of marvellous medics. These specialists have been able to come to our house for every consultation.”
He added: “There will be ups and downs, but perhaps the secret is to grab hold of the good days and enjoy them. Maybe the number of good days will surprise you.”
Mr Childs lives at home with his wife, 69-year-old Sarah, a former NHS physiotherapist. And he receives support from NSFT’s dementia and complexity in later life team (DCLL), based at the Julian Hospital, in Norwich.
Justin Cork, a community mental health nurse in the team added: “Alan had been thinking about writing another book for some time, but his condition has affected his ability to concentrate and his dexterity, so this was no longer achievable. I encouraged Alan to write a short article about his experiences since being diagnosed with dementia, to give him a positive focus, and to show him that he can still impact others with his writing.”
If you are concerned about dementia (your memory), or someone else’s, please contact your GP for advice.