Author tells how dementia caused 'theft of her husband'

Alexandra Wood

TO author Valerie Wood dementia was “a thief” who stole her husband away. The novelist will be sharing her experiences caring for her husband of 51-years Peter at an event in Hull on Thursday.

Mr Wood died in March last year after suffering from the disease for 12 years.

The first inkling something was wrong was when Mr Wood became increasingly forgetful. Tests were carried out and he was prescribed Aricept – a drug used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

She recalled: “I looked it up on the Internet, I knew it would get worse, but I never told Peter.

“What was the point? He was just determined to fight whatever it was that was causing us these problems. For some years he was all right but gradually it got worse.”

Eventually the couple moved from Burton Pidsea to Beverley to be closer to their daughter Catherine. However there was little other help available. It gets to the point as the disease progresses you can’t actually leave the person you are caring for. Peter always came with me to events, he was usually happy to sit there but I gradually found I was watching out more for him than concentrating on what I was doing.

“I think people with dementia become very insecure, because they lose the sense of themselves. Dementia is a thief. It steals away the people we care about. It takes away their precious memories and any hopes for the future.

“It is also about the person with dementia losing the sense of themselves, of who they are, of who their family and friends are and where they fit into life in general.”

The free event in the Wilberforce and Kingston suite at the KC Stadium, from 10am to 3pm, will update people on NHS Hull’s plans to spend 2.5m over the next two years on dementia services.

The PCT will be taking on three Admiral nurses, specialist mental health nurses specialising in dementia who work with carers, and increasing the number of mental health nurses working on hospital wards.

Better training for staff, “signposting” services for carers and “dementia cafes” are also planned. For more information call Louise Eastwood at or call 01482 585166.