Did you know that more than 40,000 people under 65 are suffering from dementia in the UK?
People with dementia related diseases, such as Alzheimer, suffer from a progressive brain disorder that leads to memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. As a result, those affected find it more difficult to remember things, think clearly, interact with others and eventually take care of themselves.
The number of people affected is set to rise and reach over 1 million by 2025 and even though scientists are trying to find ways to treat and cure it, dementia still remains a terminal condition.
However, one of the most common issues that we face nowadays is to talk about dementia itself, without fear of judgement or opening up when sharing with someone you care. We love sharing some details of our lives: our new diets, our kids’ achievements and maybe a member of the family suffering from arthritis.
But when it comes to brain disorders, we tend to hide this instead of talking and seeking for support. In addition, dementia can also create challenging situations for families when trying to explain this to children. The challenge of coping with dementia as an adult is almost as difficult as explaining the situation the young children.
Books and movies are great forms of communication, which can open your mind as well as helping talk more freely about certain topics. The way some diseases have been depicted on the screen or through books makes those situations more concrete and closer to us.
Somebody I Used To Know by Wendy Mitchell
Somebody I Used To now has been chosen as the best 2018 summer read by the major UK newspapers and it is the autobiography of the woman Wendy used to be and the woman dementia has seen her become. The significance of this book is that it managed to capture the experience and describe the early stages by giving us an insightful portrayal of dementia.
This revelatory story’s aim is to prove that despite a terminal condition that person is still there, forgetful and confused, but still in need of validation, conversation, and ultimately, in need of love.
When Grandma Came To Stay by Matt Elliott
This book has been written to help children understand and cope with the difficulties of dementia, whilst exploring the experiences of a kid who has a family member living with them. “Grandma is a bit forgetful […] It is a condition which affects Grandma’s brain” starts the author.
Dementia is described with a simple and basic vocabulary through everyday situations, where the young granddaughter deals with difficult feelings but learns how special small gestures can be.
Still Alice directed by Richard Glatzer
Based on Lisa Genova’s bestselling book, Juliane Moore stars as Alice Howland, a linguistics professor with early-onset of Alzheimer’s. Language is the very essence of Alice’s identity but when words start to escape her and her intellectual capabilities decline, she must come face-to-face with a devastating reality.
The movie provides a poignant depiction of Alice’s increasing symptoms and shows how her husband and children deal with it; it is, in fact, a powerful movie for both Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.
The Notebook directed by Nick Cassavetes
Despite the different and contrasting opinions on how dementia is treated in The Notebook, this very well-known movie is an opportunity for everyone to start familiarising with dementia without emphasising too much on the disease itself.
In fact, the only two scenes where we can perceive clear symptoms of dementia are the beginning and closing ones – where Noah, the husband of Alzheimer’s patient, Allie, reads their love story to her. The movie, based on Sparks’ book, flashes back and forth between their love story and Allie’s experiences with dementia and everything is told with a sweet and delicate tone of voice.
More people are trying to raise awareness about dementia and communicate its difficulties through books and movies. Whether you’re looking for hope, support or a way to talk about this topic more openly, we hope you’ll appreciate our choices.