A personal experience with Dementia

Hilary Cragg

Professional Life

I became a solicitor as a second career, having got married, had children and worked in retail and banking. I completed my law degree through the Open University and eventually qualified as a solicitor in March 2010. I started my career as a Wills and Probate solicitor and quickly developed a specialism working with elderly or learning disabled clients. Dementia was the most common condition that I dealt with. Over time, I not only learnt the skills to help and support my clients, who were either people with impairments or their carers, but developed a passion for this kind of work. Over the years my understanding of the impact of the disease grew and I could see the common threads of the struggles that people with dementia and their families go through.

Hilary Cragg Dementia Disease Support

A personal story of compassion

Then in about 2014 my own mother developed dementia and I had to use my skills and knowledge to support my mother with the disease, she died in 2017 and I was with her for all the steps along the journey, from her initial early struggles before she was formally diagnosed, and I was with her when she died.

Having experienced the journey of someone with dementia myself, I became ever more passionate about supporting people and their carers to live good, safe and most importantly happy lives through this passage of the disease.

Providing support to others

I was inspired to write the book that was not available to me when I was caring for my mother. But not just a book about the story of me and my mother, a book that was relevant and helpful to people with different kinds of dementias and life circumstances. So I wrote a comprehensive guide to living well with dementia – Compassion with dementia. It was important to me to include the word compassion in the title, I wanted to make sure that the readers understood that this is a book about kindness and understanding towards people with dementia and their carers.

Learn more
Compassion with Dementia

A humans right perspective

I see myself in broad terms as a human rights lawyer. So I view the situations that are presented to me from that perspective and will ask whether something is fair? Or whether a person without dementia or disability would be treated in the same way? And if not, why not?

My mission is to empower people with dementia to live as they would want for as long as is possible to achieve. Instead of asking the question, “how can we keep this person safe?”, I will ask “what makes this person happy and how can we de-risk that?”. My starting point is about what the person wants and what will make them happy as the primary objective to work towards.


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