A St Albans based film-maker has been inspired to produce a DVD to raise awareness of dementia after his experiences with his own grandfather.
Brett Lenman, who lives in Batchwood, created 'Understanding Dementia' after seeing firsthand how his grandfather’s diagnosis of dementia affected his family.
The 20-minute long DVD explains what dementia is and what help is available in the district, as well as providing useful advice and strategies to cope with the illness.
Mr Lenman, 38, 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."
Dr Arun Jha, from the NHS Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, was instrumental in developing the script with Mr Lenman.
He said: "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 hope it will be a helpful resource for the people of Hertfordshire".
The film, commissioned by Hertfordshire County Coucil, will be distributed via the Early Memory Diagnosis and Support Service and people everyone attending ‘Dementia First aid Course for family carers’.
Actors from St Albans based Company of Ten 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. Occupational therapist Suzanne Potts is also featured in the film.
Understanding Dementia was filmed at various locations throughout Hertfordshire, including the Dementia Cafe run by the Alzheimer’s Society at Homewood Road Church Hall, 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, Mr Lenman 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". Mr Lenman explained.
St Albans resident Patricia Hurford was interviewed for the film. She said: "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".
"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".
Mr Lenman added: "My granddad fought in Second World War 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".
The film can be viewed online here.