The Dementia Letter Project
By Annelieke Driessen and Hannah Cowan
The future with dementia urgently needs to be re-imagined.
Currently a life with dementia is primarily associated with loss and decline, leading many of us to be fearful of dementia, and to feel like a burden when diagnosed. A life with dementia is one that more and more people will come to live. With no cure available to us, we need to begin to imagine how a life with dementia may be good.
Imagining alternative futures with dementia is crucial because dementia diagnosis is not a fate. As Annelieke found in her research, the ways in which dementia is imagined, shapes the kind of life people with dementia can live. Through imagining alternative futures with dementia, we are not only thinking about what the future may hold for us, we are also actively shaping its possibilities. What is imaginable, becomes live-able.
The Dementia Letter project asks people to write a letter to their possible future self with dementia. It seeks to learn from joint speculation about what such a future could look like. This engagement with our fictional selves, so we hope, will open up real life possibilities, and ways of relating differently to dementia in the present. May we, through writing letters, shape better lives with dementia, which may or may not be our own someday?
You can find the first eight letters on this website. You can read them by exploring the images below. We are hoping to eventually write some reflections on what we may learn from the letters about living better lives with dementia.
We are inviting you to send us a letter for the next round of letters that will be published on this website.