Posts Tagged ‘Dementia’

Beti and David

Lovely review in the Daily Telegraph for ‘Beti and David: Lost for Words’. The response to the programme has been overwhelming for all involved.

Beti George let the cameras into her home to show people what it is like caring for a partner with dementia. She always intended her story to represent the thousands of carers across the UK who are looking after a loved-one.

Beti told a BBC event today: “People think I’ve been brave but this is the reality. We have to show what’s going on behind closed doors, as honestly as we can.”

The film was first shown on BBC Wales, and was shown in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland last night. It will be on the BBC I-Player for the next 30 days.

Jasper Rees in the Daily Telegraph:

Eighteen years ago, the filmmaker Paul Watson made a ground-breaking documentary about Alzheimer’s called Malcolm and Barbara: A Love Story. It portrayed a wife caring for a husband as he gradually disappeared into the disease’s personality-erasing maw. Ten years ago, Watson went back to film Malcolm’s last days and, controversially, his death. Alas, as seen in Beti and David: Lost for Words (BBC One), the story has not moved on.

For anyone who knows their Welsh rugby, David Parry-Jones was a familiar camel-coated figure whose voice described Llanelli’s famous win over the All Blacks in 1972. His wife Beti George, who hosts a weekly show on Radio Cymru, is a bastion of Welsh-language broadcasting.

David was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009 and ever since has been losing those faculties which made him a consummate communicator. One of the first signs was his reluctance to check over documents Beti composed in English, her second language. Now he emits percussive hoots while the words get blocked in his mouth. Putting him to bed can take three hours. The demoralising business of cleaning up after him never stops. Beti doesn’t want to put him in a home, but worries about the lack of joined-up support for those with Alzheimer’s.

Beti and David: Lost for Words was shown on BBC One Wales last month, and nominally addresses the lack of available support in Wales. But it has a wider application as a moving portrait of love, loss and kindness.

Beti travelled to Scotland, where developments in care are more advanced, to try out a simulation kit which mimics the inhibiting impact of Alzheimer’s on balance, vision and manual dexterity. She returned home better informed and, although this seems impossible, even more patient and understanding. 

As the nation ages, there will only be more of this. The more people that watch this profound film on the iPlayer the better. Beautifully filmed by director Will Davies, it illustrated the consoling Larkinesque idea embodied in David’s enduring kisses and cheerful smiles: when everything else has evanesced, all that remains of us is love.

 

 

 

Beti and David. Photo: Barry DaviesThere has been an incredible reaction to ‘Beti and David: Lost for Words’, an hour-long film broadcast this week on BBC One Wales (and still available on the BBC iPlayer).

Filmed over the course of many months, the film is a record of two people facing a terrible illness together. Since David’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, his long-time partner Beti has become his carer.

The reaction on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere showed that the couple’s story struck an emotional chord with many.

David Parry-Jones was once one of the best-known faces in Wales – a news broadcaster and the voice of Welsh rugby during its glory days in the 1970s.

Beti George is still a broadcaster. Now she juggles her working life with looking after David and with campaigning for a better life for carers.

Through Beti’s experience the film reveals the challenges and frustrations faced by tens of thousands of carers across the UK, and questions the way society supports dementia carers.

Beti’s message is clear. ‘We need a revolution in dementia care’, she says.

 

“Seventy-five per cent of my life I can keep in a normal context. I have to confess that the 25 per cent is my bogey man… It’s the place where I don’t like to linger for long.”

Those are the words of former Methodist minister Jim McWade, in this film made over the course of 12 months in 2010/11.

Jim’s bogey man is the Alzheimer’s disease he has battled since 2002.

Jim and his wife Maureen spoke with remarkable courage and clarity about the challenges posed by dementia.

We also filmed with Peter Oldacre, who was caring for his wife, Ann. “She was the girl that would go cartwheeling across the dance floor and, you know, be up at the first toot of the horn and still be wanting to go when everybody was ready to go home,” he said. “She was just the life and soul of everything really. She would try anything once, absolutely bonkers but lovely.”

In 2005, aged just 57, Ann started showing signs of confusion and memory loss. In 2007 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The speed of her decline was rapid.

Their stories represent a growing problem in our communities. Wales currently has an estimated 38,000 sufferers, with the Alzheimer’s Society in Wales expecting to see  a 33 per cent increase in dementia by 2020.

‘Living with Dementia’ received a best television programme award from the Guild of Health Writers UK.

Wales This Week‘s film ‘Living With Dementia’, which was broadcast on ITV Wales last year, has won a Guild of Health Writers’ Award for Best Broadcast Programme.

The award was presented at the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street, London.

The film followed Jim McWade, who suffers with Alzheimer’s Disease, and his wife Maureen, and Peter Oldacre, who was looking after his wife Ann.

You can read about the making of the programme on the ITV Wales blog and watch it below.

‘Living With Dementia’, a half-hour documentary following two couples who are dealing with dementia, is now available on You Tube. It is in two parts.

We filmed with the two couples for almost a year. There is more on their stories here.

The programme is now being used to help teach clinical psychology trainees at the Dementia Service Development Centre Wales.

 

Living with Dementia (Update)

Posted: September 28, 2011 in TV
Tags: , ,

There was a very strong response to Wales This Week: ‘Living with Dementia’.

The programme is now available on-line and there is a discussion forum on the Alzheimer’s Society website.

Living With Dementia

Posted: September 22, 2011 in TV
Tags: , ,

“Seventy-five per cent of my life I can keep in a normal context. I have to confess that the 25 per cent is my bogey man… It’s the place where I don’t like to linger for long.”

Those are the words of former Methodist minister Jim McWade.

His bogey man is the Alzheimer’s disease he has battled with since 2002.

He was given five years to live. Almost a decade on he is still going strong.

He lives in the moment. He paints and plays a little golf.

But he can no longer read or follow the news. He does not remember what he did last night.

The recent 10th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks meant nothing to him. He had no memory of the day which was said to have changed the world.

It was the diagnosis of dementia which changed his world and that of his wife Maureen.

“We do know what the future holds but there’s nothing we can do about it,” says Maureen, a former nurse. “We can’t change the pattern of this disease… Once you’ve had that diagnosis there is no turning back.”

For the last year, the Wales This Week team has been filming with Jim and Maureen. The couple talk with remarkable courage and clarity about the challenges posed by dementia.

As does Peter Oldacre, who cares for his wife Ann and tries to remember her as she was: “She was the girl that would go cartwheeling across the dance floor and, you know, be up at the first toot of the horn and still be wanting to go when everybody was ready to go home. She was just the life and soul of everything really. She would try anything once, absolutely bonkers but lovely.”

In 2005, aged just 57, Ann started showing signs of confusion and memory loss. In 2007 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The speed of her decline was rapid.

“Up until just over two years ago she was still walking and talking and in that two year period she’s stopped walking completely and in two years now, she hasn’t spoken a single word to me,” Peter explained when we visited him in January.

“And now, because she doesn’t communicate with me in any way, writing or speaking, I don’t have any real knowledge of quite what she knows. It’s really strange, you sort of ask her questions but I don’t get a reply. I used to get a thumbs up sometimes, but that’s, in the last six months, that’s disappeared as well, so you sort of hope really that you’re getting whatever it is right.”

We filmed with Peter and Ann again this month when they took part in the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk in Cardiff. It is now three years since Ann last spoke.

Peter’s description of the deterioration of the person he has loved for more than 40 years is heartbreaking.

Their stories represent a growing problem in our communities, with the Alzheimer’s Society estimating a dramatic rise in the number of us with dementia. Wales currently has an estimated 38,000 sufferers, and Ian Thomas, director of the Alzheimer’s Society in Wales, says: “What we are expecting to see is around about a 33 per cent increase in dementia by 2020.”

Bob Woods, professor of clinical psychology in the elderly at Bangor University, describes dementia as the “single largest issue that faces both the health service and social services in Wales”.

It’s a battle which the whole of society is facing. But people like Jim and Maureen, Peter and Ann, are at the forefront of it.

Wales This Week: Living with Dementia’, ITV Wales, Tuesday, September 27, 7.30pm