Visual storytelling increases understanding of the lived experience of dementia.

Helen Rimell has been awarded the 2023 Bob and Diane Fund Grant, an award for visual storytelling about Alzheimer's and dementia.

No Longer Her(e) is a deeply personal and loving collection of images that capture fragments of Helen's mother's life as she lives with early onset vascular dementia. As the primary caregiver for her mother, Helen shares her perspectives about the pervasive impacts of dementia along with her poignant images.

All words and images courtesy of Helen Rimell.

My mother was my rock, a ray of light in a troubled world; losing her to dementia is the most difficult thing I have ever had to face. I began this project as a way of preserving her, of keeping who she was alive; a response to this horrific disease as it stole her from us, piece by piece. These images are fragments of her life and in making them, a way of ensuring she isn’t forgotten.

My mother was diagnosed with early onset vascular dementia in 2015, changing all our lives forever. The symptoms were mild at first, and the disease progressed slowly, this changed over time and by 2019 she needed full time care. I moved back to my hometown and became her full time caregiver in 2021; leaving the life I had made to do so.

My aim is to make a body of work that portrays the brutal and heartbreaking reality of living with dementia, in what I hope is a moving, raw, powerful and real representation. No hiding from the horror and indignities; the true face of dementia, the pain, heartbreak, fear, and all that is lost, whilst also showing her sense of humour and the intimate relationship between myself and my mother. Now the roles have switched, and I have gone from her child to her caregiver. It is an incredibly difficult journey for us both, but one that I have chosen to take with her for as long as I can.

No one really knows what dementia is, or understands it, or knows how hard it is to care for someone with this twisted, evil, life destroying disease until they live it… The darkness envelopes us all, not just the person suffering from dementia; those who love them and care for them are consumed by it also.

— Helen Rimell

Making this work whilst being her primary caregiver, which is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting; as well as trying to process my own grief in losing the person I love with all my heart. This has been overwhelming and unbelievably challenging, which I believe comes through in the images, and is a huge part of not only this work, but also the experience of caring for someone with dementia.

View the full image collection No Longer Her(e).

GET MORE INFORMATION

Founded by Gina Martin in honour of her parents, The Bob and Diane Fund Grant is an award for visual storytelling about Alzheimer's and dementia awarded yearly, to bring visual understanding and dialogue to a disease that has been in the shadows for far too long.

Learn more about The Bob and Diane Fund and view visual stories by past award winner at BobandDianeFund.Org

SHARE THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA