Wendy Mitchell worked in the NHS for twenty years, managing nursing rotas in a busy city hospital with a level of efficiency and dedication that she took pride in. Sporty, independent and resourceful, she brought up her two daughters on her own, taking cleaning jobs when they were young so she could juggle childcare while making ends meet. Living a full life in Yorkshire, she would leave home at 5.35am for the one-hour bus ride to work, arriving at her desk an hour before everyone else. Then, in 2014, at the age of fifty-eight, she was diagnosed with early onset dementia.
The warning signs had appeared over the previous year or so. She had fallen while running – a stroke was diagnosed – then felt herself becoming slower, more tired, more forgetful. Giving a presentation at work, she suddenly couldn’t remember a word; later she realised the word was