Dementiaville - The Family

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Ep 2

It is predicted that 1 in 3 people in the UK will be affected by dementia in the future and, with no known cure, this complex disease can destroy recent memories but leave some older ones intact, causing patients to retreat to their past. In Dementiaville, this compelling series uses archive footage to illustrate memories, whilst patients’ past and present are explored and new memories are created. In this episode, with the help of an expert in dementia care, three families come to terms with who their loved one has become by embarking on a detective journey into their former lives and rediscovering who they once were.

Episode: Family
This film features families who are still caring for their loved ones at home. To keep them at home requires huge commitment, love and adaptation as for them it’s like living with a new person. For the family it can often feel that the person they love is slipping away and being lost to dementia. This episode offers an insight into the family’s determination, the impact on their everyday lives and the inner strength that is required. They attend a work shop run by Dr David Sheard who shows them ways to reconnect with their loved ones through shared memories and rediscovery of critical moments in their life, whilst building new memories.

Ann looks after her husband Jim

Ann and Jim have been married for 42 years and they have two sons, Ian (36) and Rob (33). Ian lives at home full time and is a great help with the care of Jim. Rob also lives half the week at home to help with the care; he spends the other time at his fiancée’s.
Camping trips in the 1980s played a part in family life and are something they all refer to with fondness. Trips would usual involved time at fairgrounds where Jim was an expert at winning cuddly toys and other memorabilia. Favourite campsites would be places with a river for Jim to fish and paths for the boys to ride their bikes – then Ann would enjoy sitting and reading her book.
In 2000 Ann started noticing that Jim was suffering from symptoms of dementia, he started having accidents driving (which was very unusual) struggled to find his way home from church meetings in London and stopped going fishing altogether. By 2003 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
He is in the latter stages of the disease; he can do nothing for himself, and for the past five years he has retreated to his own world where he talks to himself nonstop. This reached a climax at Christmas last year where he talked for 36 hours continually resulting in Ann not being able to get any sleep. More recently, Jim’s vocabulary has become so limited that he now uses the word ‘Klonkers’ in many sentences.
Joy and son Romaine look after their mother/grandmother Dorothy

Dorothy was born in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica. She had four children with her first husband. She has always loved to drive and had a job driving buses in Jamaica – the third women to do so on the island. In the early 60s she left for England and settled in Derby.
In Derby she met her second husband Egbert (Joy’s dad) who she married in 1965. Dorothy then worked as a bus driver in the early 1980’s - she was the first black women driver in Derby and drove a double decker bus.
She has always played a big a part in her daughter Joy’s life and her three children (Giselle 23, Romaine 21, and Michaela 13). Joy is a single parent so relied on Dorothy to help bring up her kids. Romaine remembers his grandmother’s great cooking skills and how she once was the head of the family.
Dorothy loves music, especially gospel and has always attended church. She still loves listening to the gospel radio channel in her room.
She was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013. Joy first noticed a difference in her mum when she started shouting at little things – she’d always been a very calm, humble person so this was completely out of character. She’s also been a great home maker and cook, but Joy noticed her not being able to put all the ingredients of a meal together and throwing everything in one pot.
She was eventually diagnosed with vascular dementia. Joy moved her mum into her own home, realising she couldn’t cope alone in her flat. Romaine her grandson gave up his own bedroom for Dorothy and now sleeps on the living room floor.

Jacquie and Tony
Tony is a 64 year-old former barrister who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in June 2010. From having lived a life based around hard facts and complicated criminal cases, Tony now struggles with the simplest tasks. His wife Jacquie is a former secondary school teacher and now works part-time for a teacher training agency. She looks after him at their family home in Wimbledon and says he is gradually losing his understanding as to how the world works. “Nothing makes sense to Tony any more. Even things like the remote control baffle him and it’s a struggle for Tony to get himself dressed in the mornings or even make himself a cup of tea.”
She knows things will only get worse but is determined to make the best of each day and focus on living in the here and now. Prior to his diagnosis, Tony was a keen cyclist and spent his free time reading literature on politics and history. Although words and reason are now failing him, Tony has discovered a new talent since his diagnosis. After attending a Royal Academy “In Mind” art workshop two years ago, he has found himself passionately drawing and painting, something he’d never done before. It’s almost as if his loss of reason has been replaced by a new previously, undiscovered talent and he can express himself through his paintings. Now it’s one of the only things he can still enjoy which gives him a sense of stability.
Dr David Sheard
Dr David Sheard specialises in reconnecting people living with a dementia with their families and carers using emotional memory, family history and life stories.

David has spent 35 years working in health and social services in specialist dementia care posts - his experience includes social work in hospitals and the community, managing community mental health teams (older people), being a home care manager and latterly as a general manager of old age psychiatry in an NHS Trust.

He also has extensive experience supporting families living with dementia. In his role as a former consultant to the Alzheimer’s Society he led a major educational programme called ‘Being Together With Dementia.’ David supports families and teaches them to learn from each other about why feelings matter most in relationships.

In 1995 David founded Dementia Care Matters; its aim is to demonstrate that dementia care is about emotional care, and that this is no different to what we all need in life. Writing and producing various publications and DVDs, he’s educated and trained dementia care workers and families living and working with dementia throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally. The organisation also supports a network of dementia care home organisations in the ‘Butterfly Household Model of Care’, focusing on quality of life.