Poul and Else were married for 57 years. For the last four, their granddaughter, photographer Sofie Mathiassen, documented their life together while Poul progressed through the stages of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Else stayed by Poul’s side until his death, first in their home in Skanderborg, Denmark, and later in a nursing home when it became too hard to care for him at home. She visited every day.
Mathiassen’s photographs are an intimate window into the end of a life, and a lifelong partnership. They are testament to a specific love story, but they will also be familiar to anyone who has cared for a loved one with dementia. “Else and Poul’s story is very universal,” Mathiassen told STAT, “because it deals with themes and emotions recognizable for many people whether you have dementia or not.”
The project was recently recognized by The Bob and Diane Fund photography grant, which supports visual storytelling about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
I cared for my husband for years. Had to leave him for two days at a compassionate care center so I could go to our grandson’s wedding. He was so good about this & when I was leaving, he said “Be careful..I love you”. He passed in the early morning..3:30am, the day of wedding. Miss him so very much. We were married for 63 years. My friend, sidekick & leader.
This is my mom she has dementia my dad just passed they were married 70 years on the 10 th of Dec the dad my dad passed sitting here crying thank you .Hope I can take care of her till the end of her life at home
My husband was just diagnosed with the same diseases as Poul . I am devastated because I know the inevitability which is to follow . His was the beautiful mind . We had so much linkage intellectually and he never bored me . Bless Else . I’m not certain I could be as good a person as she is . That bothers me immensely . I feel myself sinking into a deep depression which points out my selfishness even more . This hideous disease punishes both the victim and the caretaker . It’s allowed me realize how fortunate the people who die of strokes, heart attacks or anything which takes them quickly , truly are .
Such a wonderful touching story of love that is so hard to find now a days. Thanks for sharing such an intimate story of genuine love.
Sad but wonderful to see such love.
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