Laughing in the face of danger is an oft-touted courage-building technique, but learning to laugh in the face of dementia may seem downright impossible — if not a bit uncouth.
Families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders can attest to the fact that there is little humor to be found in the day-to-day realities of dealing with dementia, but a new series of short films aims to at least partially lift this detrimental cloud of desperation.
“People with dementia are stigmatized and this stigma leads to discrimination, depression, social isolation, delayed health-seeking behavior and other negative outcomes,” says Dr. Sabina Brennan, assistant director of the NEIL (Neuro-Enhancement for Independent Lives) Program at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland in a statement. Stigma prevents open discussion, and promotes the false belief that nothing can be done for people with dementia.”
Brennan feels the solution to dementia’s stigma requires a simple combination of providing accurate information and encouraging empathy for those with neurological disorders. So she and her colleagues at NEIL developed a series of ten films about dementia, called the FreeDem project.
The short clips address common questions many people are afraid to ask, such as, “Can your memory go completely?” (See above.)
And, “I have trouble remembering things — am I getting dementia?”
They also offer information on how memories are formed and what factors influence brain functioning:
And what everyone can do to make their community more dementia-friendly:
Injecting humor into the topic of dementia may not seem like an obvious approach, but the creators believe the quirkiness of the films will compel people to share them. “We hope this series of short films will encourage people to be proactive and take responsibility for their brain health, make important lifestyle changes that reduce risk factors, learn strategies that support declining abilities and seek medical advice in order to facilitate early intervention and diagnosis.”
What do you think, can humor and dementia combine to create a tasteful solution to the pervasive stigma of dementia?
You can view the rest of the FreeDem films here.
How Do You Love Someone While Hating Their Dementia?
How Alzheimer’s Forced Me to Live Life With Two Different Husbands
Vitamin E: A Proven Alzheimer’s Breakthrough
Living Proof That Alzheimer’s Can’t Steal Love
The Scary Link Between Depression and Dementia
An Insider’s Perspective on Life With Alzheimer’s
Why Laughter May Beat Medication for Dementia Treatment
The Scary Truth About Depression and Dementia
By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor