Can a lively bunch of three and four year-olds be the surprising key to tackling dementia? “The Toddlers who took on Dementia” is a BBC Wales documentary that follows three days of activities which examine what happens when nursery children spend their time with people living with Dementia.
In a bold new experiment, the first of its kind in the UK, the group of toddlers head to a dementia day-care centre to share three days of time and activities with adults in their 70s and 80s. Overseen by expert psychologists from Bangor University, this ambitious project tests if children might be the secret weapon in helping fight the sometimes crippling effects of dementia.
Despite an age gap of eight decades, the two groups have one thing in common, they both receive day-care, except for the adults there is one significant difference – each person has a formal diagnosis of dementia or significant memory loss.
The latest research reveals that one in every three children born this year in the UK will later develop a form of dementia, for which there is currently no cure. Can these little kids crack the way we all deal with dementia? Can they find the person behind the diagnosis?
The psychologists set a series of specially designed activities to see if the young children can bring the adults back from their memory loss. Using rigged cameras at the centre in Colwyn Bay, they observe every moment of this unique social experiment unfold.
They tap into the passions of the adults’ younger years: a vintage-car ride for chauffer David alongside four-year-old Leo, song for musicals star Iris and talk of the beautiful game for a former footballer. The aim is to trigger memories and good moments but not all older participants are immediately convinced.
The experience was described by Rebecca Nicholson, the Nursery Manager as an “amazing opportunity which the children really enjoyed. They benefited from being involved as they developed new life experiences which will are a fundamental part of their learning and development.”
The manager at the Dementia Day care Centre Christine Williams said this about the experience “We are all very proud of being part of this exciting experiment, it was truly natural and the results we experienced were overwhelming. We now need to re-think nationally/internationally as this programme re-ignited emotion that brought happiness for individuals we support, living with Dementia.”
The documentary builds upon the award winning Welsh medium series “Hen Blant Bach” broadcast on S4C in December 2016 and 2017 when the Psychologists introduced Nursey children to Adult Day Care Centres across Wales.
The series won the Celtic Film Festival 2018 award for Best Factual Series and Silver World Medal for the Documentary Community portraits category at the New York TV and Film festival in 2018.
‘The Toddlers who took on Dementia’ will be aired on Wednesday 23rd May 2018, BBC1 Wales at 9pm, and is part of Dementia Action Week.
❤️️ Beautiful David, a chauffeur of over 25 years, discovers a shared love of motors with 4 year old Leo, who is on the autism spectrum and obsessed with cars.The Toddlers Who Took On Dementia – Wednesday, 21:00 BST BBC One Wales
Posted by BBC Wales News on Monday, 21 May 2018