In our weekly spot where we chat about wellbeing and mental health, a short film and a few thoughts about dementia.

Hello, and welcome to Wellbeing and Mental Health Matters. This week is Dementia Action Week, and we would like to take a moment to highlight a really important short film and campaign from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Cure The Care System is a poignant yet hard hitting reflection on the difficulties of caring for a loved one with dementia. The film touches on the brief moments of levity and joy that can be found, but it doesn’t flinch in highlighting the difficulties, the loneliness and the frustration that can come with being a carer.

It stars Kate Dickie, who depicts life as a carer in a sympathetic and compelling manner. Kate herself has experience of caring for a loved one with early onset dementia, and we would ask you to read her moving piece on the Alzheimer’s Society website, Behind the Cure – The Care System: Kate’s Story.

You can also watch Cure The Care System here:

Kate’s story also raises awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society’s Cure the Care System campaign, which aims to highlight that almost a million families in the UK are supporting loved ones with dementia. In doing so they face ongoing difficulties accessing appropriate care, respite and on-going treatment for their loved one. Grief, hardship and social isolation are just some of the issues faced by carers on a long-term basis.

A huge thanks to Kate for making us aware of the campaign and film on social media. Kate has asked us to thank the following people, who were all instrumental in creating such a compelling piece: the actor Mark Carlisle; Oliver Clark from Novemba Films (Director); Steve Overs (Producer); David Foulkes (Director of Photography), Laura Duffy (Production Manager) and all of the crew who worked on Behind the Cure on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society.

It will take less than five minutes of your time to watch the film and sign the petition. A huge thank you to those of you who do, and to the vast army of carers out there, doing the quiet stuff day in, day out. We see you.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

A note from Jane:

This is an issue close to my heart. My small family has been touched by dementia twice. My lovely mother-in-law had early onset vascular dementia, and my wonderful aunt has recently been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease. My husband was his mum’s carer; I am my aunt’s. Grief comes with the diagnosis, even when anticipated. The responsibility is huge.

I am lucky, I have support going forward. But there are points where the enormity of it hits you. Signing for Power of Attorney over my aunt’s welfare needs was one them. There is a tacit acknowledgement in there that someone has relinquished control, that you need to step up and step in to help them navigate the rest of their life in the best possible way you can find. I found that knowledge overwhelming on the day itself.

I know there is a road of hard decisions ahead. There are forms to complete, medical appointments to attend, care agencies to manage, washing to collect, and so on. Being a carer is many faceted. For me, and with the support of my brilliant husband, it is also important for us to remember that my aunt remains the same funny, occasionally naughty little soul she has always been. While gently encouraging her to take her medication and eat jammy toast to keep her jet fuelled.

Take care all.

Read Kate’s story here.

Sign the Cure The Care System ( #CureTheCareSystem ) petition here.

Find out more about the work of the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Action Week here.

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