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The Toddlers who took on Dementia

“The Toddlers who Took on Dementia” is a BBC Wales documentary that follows three days of planned activities which aimed to examine what happens when nursery children come together with people living with Dementia.

Psychologists from Bangor University worked closely with Darlun TV to create person centred activities which were engaging for both ages. The team included Emeritus Professor Bob Woods, an international expert in Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and Dr Catrin Hedd Jones, both from the School of Healthcare Sciences and Dr Nia Williams Child Psychologist, from the School of Education.

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.”

Darlun TV also part funded a Masters student under the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) scheme to evaluate the experiment, collecting data from the children and adults taking part. Lynwen Hamer is currently analysing the findings as part of her Masters degree.

Following on from the programme, Dr Jones will also lead a new (KESS) funded research into a programme of work in partnership with Gwynedd Council. This new research will explore what are the elements that ensure an intergenerational programme between primary school children and older adults is successful and sustainable. The team are currently recruiting a bilingual researcher to join this study.

The documentary builds upon the award winning Welsh medium series “Hen Blant Bach” broadcast on S4C in December 2016 and 2017 when the Psychologist 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, BBC1 Wales at 9pm, as part of Dementia Action Week.

For more information about Dementia Research being conducted at Bangor University and Dementia related courses follow this link.

Important advice for anyone who is writing about dementia: people with dementia find the use of terms such as ‘sufferer’ or ‘suffering’ offensive in media content and headlines. Please avoid the use of offensive terms when discussing dementia.

Further guidance has been prepared by people living with dementia: http://dementiavoices.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/DEEP-Guide-Language.pdf

Publication date: 21 May 2018