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Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 11:46 UK
Alzheimer's experience put into words
By Sophie Pierce
BBC Devon

Norman McNamara
Norman McNamara has put his experiences into words

Norman McNamara, from Torquay, was devastated to be told he had Alzheimer's, at the age of just 50.

He felt himself losing his grip on his mind, unable to string sentences together, or summon his thoughts.

Now though, three years on, Norman is a changed man, thanks to the drug Ebixa, which now looks likely to be prescribed on the NHS.

"I've got my life back" he says. "It's given me back my confidence, and enabled me to resume my writing again."

Norman had always written poems and stories for his children, but the Alzheimer's gave him an added incentive to put pen to paper, because he now wants to raise awareness of the condition.

"Dementia's still whispered about, like it's an awful word. It's rather like cancer and HIV used to be. I hope that with my writing, I can help to change that."

Norman has written two books, one of prose and one of poetry.

'Me and My Alzheimer's' describes his experience of the disease, while 'More Than Words' is a collection of poems, many of them taking a wry look at the sometimes depressing world of the dementia sufferer.

He is determined, as he puts it, not to let his illness "beat him".

And he intends to keep writing to spread awareness and encourage communication between sufferers and carers.

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