Annie is still here

Charlotte Bogaert

Photography

“I­­n 2010 I met Annie. I wanted to portray what it is like to live with Alzheimer’s. She was happy to participate in this adventure. Annie turned out to be a very warm and enterprising woman: she would go out, bike, and share the photo albums of her life and travels with me. She was always enjoying life.

Alzheimer’s instilled panic in her, the fear of being home alone, and not knowing what to do. In order to hold together her experiences, she would write. One day the police brought her home, she had forgotten where she lived. Eventually she could no longer find the refrigerator or recall whether she had eaten. She experienced continuous chest pain when she was alone. It had became time for a nursing home.

In the company of other residents, during activities, she enjoyed herself. Alone, in her room, the fear and loneliness would overwhelm her. Her disease manifested itself in stages. After a period in which she would write on the walls of her room, the writing lapsed, and she lost her sense of time.  She enjoyed music but no longer sang. She’d tick rhythmically throughout the day. In conversations her sentences crumbled into incomprehensible speech. She would still enjoy the warmth of the sun, good food and company. She gradually withdrew. She is trapped in her body that is slowly breaking down. She is fully dependent. When she is bathed, she is alternately fearful and grateful, she shouts, squeezes, and enjoys. At every visit she gives me a radiant, warm, loving smile.”

On the 4thof March 2018 Annie passed away in her sleep.

Nominated for the Dutch Photographers (DuPho) SO Award 2019

Na thuiskomst van de hele dag ontmoetingsgroep weet ze zich geen raad. ‘Wat moet ik nu doen?’
Annie belt met dochter om door te spreken hoe het vandaag gaat. Ze wordt opgehaald door het busje om naar de onmoetingsgroep te gaan. Daar is ze de hele dag en komen Caroli en Myrthe haar ‘s mddags ophalen om haar naar haar nieuwe huis te brengen.

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