A DVD called ‘Understanding Dementia’ has been produced by St Albans based filmmaker Brett Lenman.
Brett was inspired to create the 20 minute long DVD as a result of seeing firsthand how his grandfather’s diagnosis of dementia affected his family. The film explains what dementia is and what help is available locally, as well as providing some very useful advice and strategies to cope with the illness.
On how the film came about Brett Lenman said: “From my experience of having made many films in the social care area I could see how useful an information film about dementia would have been not only for my grandparents but for the rest of my family to be able to understand more about Dementia”.
The film was commissioned by Hertfordshire County Council and the delivery of the project was a fine example of partnership working, with organisations such as NHS Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT), the Alzheimer’s Society and Carers in Hertfordshire supporting Brett in the production of the film.
Dr Arun Jha - Mental Health lead for older people for HPFT was instrumental in developing the script with Brett: “We set out to make a film that gives people a good overview of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. The plan is for people to be given a copy of the DVD to take home and keep and hopefully to pick up lots of information from watching it. I think it will be of real benefit to people who receive a diagnosis of dementia and their families. We will distribute it via the EMDASS team (the Early Memory Diagnosis and Support Service) and I shall also distribute it to everyone attending my ‘Dementia First aid Course for family carers’. We hope it will be a helpful resource for the people of Hertfordshire”.
Occupational Therapist Suzanne Potts who features in the film says: “The DVD provides some excellent tips on things people can do around the home to alleviate common difficulties. It presents them in a very clear way whilst acknowledging dementia affects people in different ways. The film covers a lot of positive approaches to the condition”.
Actors from St Albans based Company of Ten also played a big role in this film, by performing real life situations to help the viewers understand the implications of dementia on their day to day life.
‘Understanding Dementia’ was filmed at various locations throughout Hertfordshire, including the Warners End Community Centre in Hemel Hempstead, the Dementia Cafe run by the Alzheimer’s Society at Homewood Road Church Hall in St Albans, as well as the homes of four couples who are living with dementia.
Through organisations such as Carers in Hertfordshire and the Alzheimer’s Society, Brett found inspiring people who have lived with the condition and interviewed them for the film. “These are probably my favourite parts of the film as you get to hear the words of wisdom from people who have coped with the condition and how they still get on with their lives”.
Patricia Hurford from St Albans was interviewed for the film: “Brett Lenman’s DVD on Understanding Dementia is full of insights about the illness. I would have been much comforted if I had seen it in the early stages of my husband’s Alzheimer’s”.
Brett finishes by saying “My granddad fought in World War II and was conscripted in the army for the entire length of the war, he was a brave man and I remember him pointedly telling me “I am going to fight this like I have fought everything else in my life“. The interviews in the DVD really show how this is an attitude people share they are not going to just give up they are going to try and do the best they can and find and utilise the help and support that is out there”.