Author and dementia campaigner Wendy Mitchell announces own death with powerful open letter

Wendy Mitchell (via Dementia UK)
Wendy Mitchell (via Dementia UK)

British author and campaigner Wendy Mitchell has died aged 68 after battling dementia for years.

An emotional open letter penned by the Yorkshire mother has been published on her blog, explaining her decision to stop eating and drinking.

Mitchell became a best-selling writer after being diagnosed with early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s in July 2014, while working as a rota manager in the NHS.

Mitchell’s daughters Sarah and Gemma announced on Thursday that their mother had died, writing on X: “Mum died peacefully early this morning. She wrote a blog post before she died so you can read about it from her perspective.”

In her final published blog post, Mitchell, who was a dementia campaigner, wrote: “If you’re reading this, it means this has probably been posted by my daughters as I’ve sadly died.

“In the end I died simply by deciding not to eat or drink any more.

She added: “Dementia is a cruel disease that plays tricks on your very existence. I’ve always been a glass half full person, trying to turn the negatives of life around and creating positives, because that’s how I cope.

“Well I suppose dementia was the ultimate challenge.”

Mitchell revealed that had assisted dying been legal in the UK, she would have chosen it “in a heartbeat”.

“I didn’t want dementia to take me into the later stages; that stage where I’m reliant on others for my daily needs; others deciding for me when I shower or maybe insisting I had a bath, which I hate; or when and what I eat and drink,” she wrote.

“The Wendy that was didn’t want to be the Wendy dementia will dictate for me. I wouldn’t want my daughters to see the Wendy I’d become either.”

She added: “You may or may not agree with what I’ve done, how and when I’ve chosen to leave this world, but the decision was totally mine.

“My girls have always been the two most important people in my life. I didn’t take this decision lightly, without countless conversations. They were the hardest conversations I’ve ever had to put them through.”

Tributes have started flowing for the campaigner.

Dementia UK wrote on X: “A tireless campaigner, Wendy’s writing and work helped many people understand what it is like to live with dementia, as well as giving a powerful voice to those living with the condition.

“Wendy spoke candidly about how her dementia affected her, and her efforts will leave a lasting impact in the way we understand dementia and approach dementia care.”

Mitchell lived in Walkington, East Yorkshire, and authored the memoir Somebody I Used To Know in 2018. Four years later she wrote What I Wish I Knew About Dementia.

Her third book, One Last Thing: Living With The End In Mind, is due to be published next week.

For mental health support, call the Samaritans on 116 123, email them at or visit to find your nearest branch.