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Photo of an elderly women laughing

Toni Battison

I am age 71 and recently became a widow. My husband died of a massive (and very unexpected) heart attack. He was diagnosed with Semantic FTD in 2007 following several years of vague symptoms that signalled he was not dealing well with his affairs.  He was very intelligent so his deteriorating language was well disguised by his high vocabulary. Behavioural elements were also present.  In the early stages I also cared for my mother who lived with us for 13 years.  She died aged 95 years. 


I was born in Cornwall and educated at the local grammar school before doing combined adult/children’s nursing qualifications at The United Bristol Hospitals. Subsequently, I worked as a District Nursing Sister, a College Lecturer, a Health Education Officer and the Manager of a Volunteer Centre. I have written a range of books published by Age Concern England aimed at carers of older people. I wrote a blog latterly about my husband which I found very therapeutic:


I have a close and supportive family, which includes three daughters and two grandsons. Since the death of my husband I have felt very peaceful, relaxing doing some activities that had taken a ‘backseat’ during my 17 years as a carer.  I now swim, cycle and plan to travel a bit more. I read widely; my only criteria being ‘intelligent’ writing! I also enjoy knitting and tapestry. I have just joined U3A and am looking forward to attending my first lectures. My preferred TV channels are BBC 2 and BBC 4.

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