Cutting-edge short films show impact on young people supporting family members who have dementia

Posted by Rob Smyth | 15/05/2019 | Category: Corporate

A ground-breaking film campaign shows young people shine a light on their experiences of supporting people with dementia, in an effort to raise awareness and tackle stigma among young adults and teenagers.

The ‘Dementia doesn’t define us’ campaign from Dementia UK features amazing stories about how young people aged 16 to 20 have coped with members of their family being diagnosed.

Dementia UK is the only charity caring for the entire family of a person with dementia through specialist dementia nurses – Admiral Nurses.

The focal point of the campaign is a powerful poem by Denneil Dunbar, an aspiring spoken word poet from Croydon, whose work describes what it’s like supporting his mum who has dementia.

The 20-year-old agreed to perform his poem on camera to in order to help other young people who might be going through a similar experience.

He said: “I was inspired by the emotions that my mother’s condition evokes. My reason for taking part in this film is to provide a voice for the young people like me, who otherwise don’t see any sort of representation, and thus it’s easy for them to feel alone.

“I know I felt alienated from other kids in certain situations because I felt like what I was going through wasn’t normal. That’s why things like this film are important.” 

Denneil’s poem forms part of a suite of emotional films of four young people – Denneil, Emily, Sam and Joe – talking about how they have supported a relative with dementia.

Dementia UK understands that a diagnosis of dementia affects the whole family, which is why the charity supports people in the community, in hospitals, hospices and in care homes, as well as answering questions and offering advice on the free Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline.

Admiral Nurses work alongside people with dementia and their families and offer one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions so they can face dementia with more confidence and less fear.

Rachel Thompson, Admiral Nurse, said: “Young people can find the changes in a relative with dementia very distressing. If it’s a grandparent, then they might be witnessing the impact that caring for that person has on their parents. Or if it’s their own parent, they might end up being their parent’s primary carer. Their relationship might change, and it can be a lot to process.

We want every family affected by dementia to have access to an Admiral Nurse – who can understand their situation and offer advice and support to help them get through the toughest times. Until that happens, we will create resources like these films and the information on our website, so that everyone, of every age, can get the information they need to face dementia with more confidence.”

This filming project was produced and supported by Dementia UK’s corporate charity partner Central England Co-operative.

The full suite of films alongside specialist resources and information for young people impacted by dementia can be found at

About The Author: Rob Smyth

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