Ten animated short films about memory loss and dementia have been launched by researchers at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Their aim is to promote brain health and tackle the stigma associated with dementia.
Over 41,000 people in Ireland are currently living with dementia and by 2041, this figure is expected to hit 140,000. Around two-thirds of people with dementia live at home and the overall cost of dementia care in Ireland is €1.69 billion per year.
However, according to the TCD researchers, stigma associated with the condition often prevents people from talking about it and leads many to believe that nothing can be done about it.
The 10 short films look at common fears about memory loss and also provide practical advice about improving brain health. Topics covered include ‘when should I be concerned about my memory?', ‘I have trouble remembering things - am I getting dementia?', ‘What's the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia?' and ‘What can you do to keep your brain healthy?'
The films were developed by the NEIL (Neuro-Enhancement for Independent Lives) Programme at TCD's Institute of Neuroscience and can be viewed freely online. They are also available on DVD.
"People with dementia are stigmatised and this stigma leads to discrimination, depression, social isolation, delayed health-seeking behaviour and other negative outcomes.
"The problems created by stigma are serious but the solution may be simple. Stigma can be reduced through the provision of accurate information about the disease, through the clarification of misconceptions and through the communication of empathetic feeling towards individuals diagnosed with the disease," commented Dr Sabina Brennan, assistant director of the NEIL Programme.
She said that she hoped that these films will ‘encourage people to be proactive about their brain health', by for example, making important lifestyle changes or seeking medical advice when appropriate.
"The two-minute films are surprisingly fun and entertaining to watch, so we hope that people of all ages will share them online with family and friends," she added.
The films can be viewed here
For more information on Alzheimer's disease, see our Alzheimer's Clinic here