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Tuesday, 20 March 2018 08:00

Raising dementia awareness through children

A new show which has recently aired on CBBC this February is set to change the way dementia is perceived and understood by some incredibly important members of the community- our children.

While the focus is often on offering the best possible care to those with dementia, how do other members of the family begin to comprehend and come-to-terms with what dementia does to a loved one?

Dementia awareness in children

In a highly judgemental world where dementia is still a widely misunderstood and stigmatised disease, the show, My Life: Mr Alzheimer’s and Me, is aimed at raising awareness around the disease, through the eyes of children.

The show itself is centred on three children and how they come-to-terms with the suffering and personality changes of their grandparents due to dementia and Alzheimer’s. While the show has its sad moments, it has also been labelled as an incredibly positive and upbeat view of the realities of dealing with dementia. The unfiltered enthusiasm and love these young children have for their loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s is a lesson in the innocence of acceptance.

At present, there are approximately 850 000 people living with dementia in the United Kingdom, many of whom are grandparents. This show marks a real milestone in raising dementia awareness throughout the country and touches on very real moments which most grandchildren may experience when coming to terms with having an ill grandparent.

The show is a beautiful portrayal of how the innocence of youth bears no judgement, but only a drive to try and understand the illness and help their loved ones where possible. Critics believe My Life: Mr Alzheimer’s and Me, is a fantastic way to banish the stigma surrounding dementia by learning to love and accept our loved ones, just the way these grandchildren do.

Furthermore, the programme is in consideration for airing at schools across the UK in a bid to raise awareness and debate the various issues the disease can produce in a structured, educated way.

Good dementia practice

Hilda Hayo, CEO of Dementia UK acknowledges that the show is a positive way to increase knowledge and understanding around dementia. She believes difficult conversations must be had in order to establish an awareness of how the disease can affect relationships and bring on certain tensions.

The show was inspired by filmmaker, Natasha Dack’s son and his reaction to his own great-grandmother and her suffering with dementia. Dack believes that grandparents and grandchildren share a truly special bond and through the show wanted to explore how these relationships become affected.

The heart-warming show goes on to portray that these bonds remain as strong as ever, even if some grandparents struggle to communicate their feelings. Discover the beauty of love and true acceptance through the eyes of children with My Life: Mr Alzheimer’s and Me – watch the trailer here.

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