A former nurse who kept a journal about her father’s “dementia journey” has published a book about her experience of caring for him.
Jacqui White, from Hinchingbrooke Park, in Huntingdon, will launch her book called Patrick's Journey: Living with Dementia at the Robert Goddard shop in Huntingdon on October 8. She hopes the book will bring some comfort to other families struggling to care for loved-ones with the condition.
Jacqui worked in the NHS for 33 years and was eventually forced to retire to care for her father when his descent into dementia meant he was no longer able to look after himself.
In a candid, and sometimes heart-breaking account, which she wrote after her father died, Jacqui admits that even her many years of nurse training could not have prepared her for what lay ahead after her father was diagnosed with the condition.
She says it was huge learning curve and initially she had no idea how to navigate the huge challenges she faced.
"Without the support of my husband and my family I would never have been able to care for my dad as they were always there when things got tough," she said. "I worked for many years in the public sector and retired a couple of years ago after working in the NHS for more than 33 years. Even with this knowledge it was to be a learning curve as I had no idea what dementia was. I never really told anyone that I worked in the NHS so I was treated exactly the same as anyone else, which at times was an eye opener and I was not really always prepared.
"Sadly whilst caring for my dad I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a rare debilitating condition, and also Fibromyalgia but I never told my dad this. The condition is very painful and has completely changed my life. I cannot always write, as my hands would be so painful, so yipeee for computers."
This is Jacqui's first book and it is based on a four-year period when she cared for her father.
There are two book signing sessions at the shop at 2b Chequers Court, from 2pm till 5pm and 5.30pm till 8pm.
Jacqui has also set up a Just Giving page to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. If you would like to make a donation, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patricks-journey.