This memoir focuses on an experience all of us dread. Pat Lotz was an accomplished author and editor, active in her community, and a loving wife and mother. She succumbed to dementia which was later diagnosed as Alzheimer’s at the age of 81. Jim Lotz, her husband, and himself the author of more than 20 books, became her primary caregiver and spent six years in this role before her death in 2012.
Growing numbers of people are falling victim to dementia, and the condition challenges health care professionals and the health care system because there is no cure or treatment. Many people unexpectedly find themselves in the same role as Jim — caregiver — because they don’t want to see their loved ones institutionalized before it is necessary. But caring for someone suffering from dementia is enormously challenging, and there are very few places to look for useful information and guidance. Jim’s experiences offer insight, understanding, and hope for others facing the same situation.
The past is often key to understanding the present for someone caring for a person with dementia. A caregiver who has shared a life is often able to understand what others could hardly guess at. Time and again in Jim’s narrative, he is able to bring the perspective of his knowledge of Pat, her values, her loves, her fears, and her life experiences to shed a light that makes her words and actions more understandable. For many, the best approach to coming to grips with dementia has been through the worlds of literature and film. To these resources we can now add Jim Lotz’s moving and compelling account of his life with his wife Pat before — and after — the onset of her dementia. In Pilgrim Souls, Jim has written a clear-eyed, emotionally honest and tremendously moving love story.
Jim Lotz has had a diverse life as a scholar, researcher, writer and editor. Born in Liverpool, he served in the Royal Air Force before attending Manchester University where he graduated in geography. He immigated to Canada in 1954 and worked in the Far North as a researcher. In 1960 he married Pat, also a British immigrant, and he became a professor and researcher specializing in community development. He and his family moved to Halifax in 1973 where they have lived ever since. As well as writing 28 books on a variety of subjects, Jim's journalism has appeared far and wide. In 2012 he was awarded an honourary doctorate by Saint Mary's University, Halifax