‘Finding Joy’, the Belgrade’s First Dementia Friendly Performance Hits the Stage!

Did you know One in 14 people over 65 have dementia and there are over 100 different types of the condition?

Dementia is caused by diseases within the brain and can affect someone’s co-ordination and sequence in everyday tasks, concentration, perception, communication and more. It can be extremely sensitive to deal with as it is not a physical or obvious condition and can cause the sufferer to feel a plethora of emotions from confusion to anger, if not supported or properly understood by those around them due to lack of knowledge or pre-judgement.

I attended ‘Dementia Friends’ an informative and enlightening talk at the Belgrade Theatre with Natalie Cook from Age UK, who also runs a group called ‘Living Well’ which aims to support those in the early stages of dementia or suffering from a memory impairment. She does this by using creative ways to explore how to keep them active, memory exercises and providing the opportunity for them to socialise with those that are in a similar situation.

Natalie spoke with iCov giving top tips & advice for dealing with a family member living with dementia for the first time, as it can be a dramatic contrast and change in behaviour and demeanour.

She stated, “Dementia Friends is about turning understanding into action. They are not just a disease, they are people and the session looks at and focuses on what people with Dementia can do, rather than what they can’t do, raising awareness and breaking stereotypes, so that we as a community are better prepared. “

Miss Cook then went on to add, “Never shy away from seeking medical advice, early intervention and diagnosis can really help support them. Be patient, take time to listen and support the individual and never be too proud to ask for help.”

The talk was in anticipation of ‘Finding Joy’, a critically acclaimed production gracing the stage of the Belgrade Theatre from Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th of November having previously successfully completed two international sell-out tours.

Vamos theatre is the UK’s leading full mask theatre company and aims to inspire and promote an understanding of the world we all share.

‘Finding Joy’ uncovers and tells the true story of a relationship between an energetic grandmother and her troublesome yet loveable grandson, uniquely told without the use of words but portraying humour, warmth and an unconditional love and bond.

Bidi Iredale plays the role of ‘Joy’ at 83 Years old and has first hand experience of dealing with immediate family with dementia. She stated ‘We are celebrating the carers of people living with dementia. Whether that’s professional carers from doctors, nurses, carers at care homes or people looking after a loved one at home.

The Saturday matinee will be a dementia friendly performance, which is the first ever time the Belgrade Theatre will be accommodating people with dementia. Natalie stated, ‘The auditorium doors will be kept open, there will be much more volunteer support, no allocated seating, clear signage and the performance will be adapted, so nothing startles or alerts anyone with perception issues.”

Tickets are available for purchase online at Belgrade.co.uk

If you want to get involved, get more information, support and advice about dementia, you can contact your local warden or support worker for training and involvement with upcoming events.

Check out Dementia Friends on their website: dementiafriends.org.uk or stay in touch via Facebook or Twitter @DementiaFriends

Additionally you can visit vamostheatre.co.uk for more information on upcoming tour dates & productions to come.

Tashanne Grey

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