Do you know someone living with dementia? You may even care for or have a family member with the disease? According to research, dementia is now the biggest cause of death in women and the third biggest in men. It is predicted that by 2021, 1 million people in the UK will develop dementia. With this startling figure on the rise, more needs to be done in order to help those with the incurable disease.
Alzheimer’s society are working tirelessly to improve the lives of those living with dementia, and are striving to allow them to participate in activities they once loved. In particular, the arts. Cinemas have been enjoyed by generation after generation. It is somewhere we all have memories, and for those living with dementia, the cinema is somewhere they will have fond memories of, from when they were young.
The charity has plans to make cinemas more dementia friendly by providing special screenings for those with dementia. This will involve a number of changes to regular screenings as it is important for people with dementia to feel safe. Signage inside and outside of the cinema room is very important. This must be words as well as symbols, pointing to things such as the exit and the toilets.
It is also important for people with dementia to participate in social activities in order to keep a normal way of life. Showing a film such as a musical which the audience can sing along to and be encouraged to join in with can help dementia sufferers to feel less isolated and involved. If this is an old musical, they may even remember the words from when they were young!
It is also important to have plenty of volunteers to help out at the screening so the viewers with dementia feel they have someone there to help them if they need it. Before the film starts, a nominated member of staff should let the audience know where all the exits are, where they can find a member of staff, what film they are going to be watching is and general information about the screening. This is another way those with dementia will feel safe and secure in their environment.
If you would like to get involved, contact your local Alzheimer’s Society service who can then advise on what activities, including dementia-friendly screenings, are in your area. You can find the details of your local office here.
Alternatively, people can visit the website of their local cinema directly or the industry website to see what relaxed screenings they have. Often cinemas are happy to provide further support or adaptions if requested, so it’s definitely worth getting in touch to find out more.
For more information about Alzheimer's Society visit alzheimers.org.uk