In an extract from her new book, the Observer journalist remembers her father’s dementia and death, and reflects on the disease’s impact on society

• Read an interview with Nicci Gerrard

The year before my father died, he came with us to Sweden for the summer. He had been living with his dementia for more than 10 years by then, and – mildly, sweetly, uncomplainingly – he was gradually disappearing, memories falling away, words going, recognition fading, in the great unravelling. But he was very happy on that holiday. He was a man who had a deep love for the natural world and felt at home in it; he knew the names of English birds and insects, wildflowers and trees. When I was a child, I remember him taking me to listen to the dawn chorus in the woods near our house. Standing under the canopy of trees in the bright wash of sound, he would tell me which song was the mistle thrush and which the blackbird. At least, I think I remember this, but perhaps I make it up as a story to tell myself when I’m sad.

In Sweden, he picked wild mushrooms in the forest, went to a joyful crayfish party where he drank aquavit and wore a garland in his white hair, sat with a palette of watercolours...


Read full article on theguardian.com


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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19 April 2019