The Day after Yesterday: Resilience in the Face of Dementia
A deft combination of narrative and portraiture that breaks the taboo around dementia, replacing the fear and futility with empathy and nuance.
A graphic designer, a writer, a public servant, a retired PhD, a 29-year-old with early-onset Alzheimer’s. These are just some of the 50 million people living with dementia who share their deeply personal stories with Joe Wallace in The Day after Yesterday, a powerful collection of portraits and personal stories that humanizes the millions of people living with the disease. Each story in this poignant volume offers a unique and powerful lesson—not just about how to live with a terminal illness, but how to do so with resilience and dignity.
Dementia is often a taboo subject with limited public awareness or discourse. A diagnosis can become a mechanism for segregating those affected from society, making it easier to see only the label and not the individual, which, in turn, makes it easier to ignore the burgeoning health crisis and the individuals themselves. But as one man told Wallace, “Don’t believe the narrative that life is over. I want my voice to help get people to treat us the same as they did before we got the diagnosis. We may change some, but we are the same people!” More than a visual representation, The Day after Yesterday’s compassionate portraits capture the dignity and richness of each individual, destigmatizing dementia and enabling a loving, respectful, and much-needed conversation.
Praise for The Day after Yesterday: Resilience in the Face of Dementia
"Wallace is a photographer whose portraits of dementia patients — sometimes posed with their spouses or children — have been in a traveling exhibit throughout Massachusetts and elsewhere for a couple of years. They are straightforward, ennobling and often quite glamorous, not so many degrees off from Marion Ettlinger’s famous author photos...Crucially, “The Day After Yesterday,” its title the utterance of a former theater teacher with early-onset Alzheimer’s trying to make sense of time, includes photos of its subjects’ earlier selves: a onetime antiques dealer who met her husband after crawling under a tablecloth at a dinner party; a broad-smiling Bostonian who can’t remember the 25 years she worked assembling phone books for New England Telephone; a former homeland security analyst cogent enough to compare her condition to “mini acid trips.”It’s a jolting corrective to the default euphemizing (including by Wallace) of dementia and other incurable diseases as a “journey.”"
—The New York Times Book Review
“A taboo surrounds dementia and Alzheimer’s, a cloud of fear and misunderstanding that distances people from those with the disease, relegates them as gone, lost, other. “The Day After Yesterday: Resilience in the Face of Dementia” (MIT), a new book of photographs by journalist and photographer Joe Wallace, aims to destigmatize the people living with dementia by telling “a more complex and complete story.” The book includes dozens of portraits and short written bios and descriptions of Wallace’s encounters with the subjects. The range of ages is striking: people in their 30s, having inherited a mutation that brings Alzheimer’s to them early, all the way to age 100. “It doesn't matter how far gone they are into the disease,” says Daisy Duarte, who’s guaranteed to have it by age 65. “They still have ears, and they still have a beating heart.” That beating heart, that vitality, and life-force, is present in all of Wallace’s portraits. Alan O’Hare, of Dorchester, speaks of learning to have patience with yourself, and asking questions that ground you in the now: “What is it in this moment that you treasure? What is it about you that you treasure in this moment? Can you remember what you love about you? What do you love about right here, right now?” These photographs and words underline not just the fear and despair, because those are real, but the dignity and the humanity of people with the disease. In each image, one can see the burning twinkle behind the eyes that shows, I’m here, I’m here.”
—The Boston Globe
“It’s a delightful, heartbreaking, tearful, surprising collection of profiles . . . This powerful book is great for someone with a new dementia diagnosis; it proves that life’s not over yet. It’s likewise great for a caregiver, gently ushering them toward grace. Get The Day After Yesterday. It’s time for a talk.”
—Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez