People with dementia present their own television programme ?

A charity set up by people living with dementia will feature as the main Charity Appeal on the BBC ONE Northern Ireland Community Life programme this coming Sunday 21st May at 4pm. 

Tara Collins, Programme Manager of Dementia NI highlights the importance of people with dementia raising awareness.
“The Dementia NI appeal is really quite unique as it is presented solely by our members who live with a diagnosis of dementia. Traditionally the voice of people with dementia was lost or overshadowed by others, and whilst Dementia NI recognises the importance of listening to all involved, it is also vital to listen to the person living with the condition. We hope that this appeal highlights to everyone how people who are living with dementia can speak out about their experiences and what support they need as individuals.”

It had been suggested to enlist a local celebrity to present the piece yet Dementia NI members felt it was important to follow the ethos of the organisation and empower people with dementia to present it themselves. Dementia NI members were involved in the whole process of the filming from developing the script, deciding on locations and even delivering to camera themselves.  

Members felt this important to prove to the public that they can still live well after a diagnosis of dementia and are very capable of partaking in everyday activities the same as everyone else. Therefore, challenging the stigma surrounding dementia and dispelling preconceptions surrounding the condition.

John McErlane, diagnosed with dementia six years ago presents the full appeal. John is happy to talk about his experiences living with dementia and the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle after a diagnosis of dementia.

Following a diagnosis, many people with dementia and their carers feel they are doing ok and wish to go it alone without getting involved with organisations like Dementia NI. They do not look for assistance until they unfortunately reach crisis point.
Commenting on the appeal, John who helped establish the organisation highlights the importance of getting involved with Dementia NI at an early stage,

“We wanted to offer peer support to others in similar circumstances, we are the experts living with the condition and feel it important that people living with dementia can raise awareness of what it was like to live with dementia. Before we had no voice but now we go out to speak to others in the hope that society will be more understanding of what we must deal with on a day to day basis. Dementia NI has given me a reason to live.”