Dementiaville - Dementia Care Matters hopes for this Channel 4 series
When any TV Production Company makes an approach to us about involvement in a potential TV series this raises a range of complex ethical and care practice issues.
Following Dementia Care Matters experience filming the BBC series ' Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes ? ' we cannot to this day underestimate the impact this series had and people still talk about it with us on an international basis.
We learnt that these approaches come along rarely and although our involvement is not agreed lightly it is important to engage outside of the narrow world of professional dementia care.
TV programmes provide an unparalleled opportunity to not only raise the public profile but to also disseminate to a large national viewing audience powerful and important messages about dementia care.
This series has been almost 3 years in the making from early exploratory discussions with Twofour Group who were commissioned by Channel 4 to produce this series.
From an initial interest by TwoFour in whether a care home could be filmed in the UK adopting an approach similar to the Hogewey " Dementia Village " in Holland, which was then rejected, to the final production of this 3 programme series is a long and complex journey.
Dementia Care Matters was very encouraged that Twofour wanted to show current thinking in dementia care in a thoughtful, reflective and poignant way. At its inception as Series Consultant it was mentioned to me that the series would be ' filmic ' and atmospheric - in other words not documentary like in style.
Some of the concepts in the series are not Dementia Care Matters particular style - the series title is certainly not of Dementia Care Matters choosing and this and other ideas have been given by the production company a ' TV edge ' ie the idea of ' time travel ' and ' dementia detectives '
However we hope you will feel and see that this series provides a powerful vehicle for peoples real lives, feelings and experiences to touch other people. The positive portrayal of a care home as a community of people living, working, supporting and just ' Being Together ' in Programme 1 is so sorely needed.
The use of archive film so vividly brings to life, in a way only TV can do, what we all know ie how each persons life history really matters. The images cleverly try to also show the possible flashes of moments in life which define people and which as emotional memories can return for people living with a dementia.
In Programme 3 the visit to The Angel of the North looking at its sculptural lines and their similarity to a mans previous work experience in the sculptural lines of shipbuilding is pure filming brilliance.
Most importantly the families who chose to place their relationships, feelings and lives in front of the TV cameras is testament itself to how much they felt there is a need nationally to hear their voices in the hope that many other people in similar situations in life can take some strength from knowing that they are not alone and that ' Feelings Matter Most '
Condensing people's lives and dementia care into TV programmes is an imperfect craft but we thank Twofour and Channel 4 for wanting to show in a different way on TV how poignant it is whilst living with a dementia in ' Being Together '
Dr David Sheard
CEO / Founder - Dementia Care Matters
David Sheard (Dr)
CEO / Founder,Dementia Care Matters.
Visiting Senior Fellow,University of Surrey.
Care Personality of the Year - 16th UK National Care Awards