The old adage that a picture can say a thousand words has never been truer than when it comes to a book called ‘Take Care Son’ recently published by cartoonist Tony Husband.
It’s a story about Tony’s father, Ron, and his diagnosis with dementia which charts his life before the condition and up to his death. A series of pictures from the book was released by the Mail Online and I think everyone who views them will be more than a little misty eyed by the time they come to the end.
What struck me when I came across this article about Tony’s book and especially the comments underneath the piece is that many of us have been close to a person who has experienced dementia. As the Dementia Friends website states, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will develop dementia and according Alzheimer’s Society there are currently 800,000 people in the UK living with dementia.
But for many people putting their feelings about dementia into words can be difficult and sometimes imagery can help make it easier.
Dementia is getting more attention in the media lately and the recent Dementia Friends TV campaign has highlighted that the support of friends and people that understand can never be underestimated. Again a simple video featuring a series of images where people sing to show their support can have a real impact and help spread the message that individuals with dementia need a voice.
Dementia shouldn’t be a condition that is brushed aside and not talked about. As Tony’s cartoons highlight it’s a condition that will take an active and engaged person and slowly strip away at their very identity and the things they once enjoyed.
It’s also a condition not confined to older people. Alzheimer’s Society also states that over 17,000 younger people in the UK currently have dementia. Gina who features in the Dementia Friends video herself was diagnosed at only 61.
The power of the visual medium is a universal language. Simple visual tools such as dementia clocks can be a great aide to people whose other senses may be diminished and the power of dementia-friendly technology should not be underestimated.
One thing most people retain with dementia is the gift of sight although some may experience visual issues. To see people and feel loved is something every human being can understand which is why if sometimes words can fail us then a picture might say more to a person with dementia than someone might think is possible.
Luke O’Neil, Senior Marketing Executive, Tunstall Healthcare