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May saw the launch of our Understanding Dementia project – which is designed to explain and promote the work of the dementia/Alzheimer’s charity SPECAL.

Our aim is to produce a number of informational and inspirational documentary-style films for training and promotion, where carers talk about their varied experiences and explain the benefits to carers of understanding and following SPECAL’s life enhancing, even life saving advice.

We need to raise a minimum of fifteen thousand pounds to make the documentary film, plus versions for training and promotion.

This is a small, underfunded but extremely important charity – their work is uniquely successful in the field of understanding and coping with dementia.

So, please have a look at the ‘about’ page and then go to the ‘pledge’ page to make your pledge.

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We had a last minute change of plan to the shooting schedule and yesterday filmed a wonderful interview with Pippa, whose sister has early onset dementia. Her love for her sister and her enthusiasm for SPECAL and what it has given her and Louise shines through in the footage and we are thrilled with the result.

We will post clips and stills as soon as we can. NB** As we are now in production and haven’t yet reached our target budget, please can I ask everyone to check their lottery numbers and behind the sofa cushions for any spare money and please pledge now… 😉

Kate x

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…to start filming at the weekend, but had to delay. It is so difficult for those who are still coping with caring for a sufferer, trying to keep working and be faced with the prospect of talking about it on camera, so finding days to fit in a film crew too is proving to be a challenge!

So, we’re putting together a new schedule – watch this space…

Kate x

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… the lady who ‘talked me through’ SPECAL and gave me the benefit of  her experience when I first looked after Dad.

We had spoken on the phone before and although she only lives 10 minutes from me this was a first-time meeting, although it felt like I had known her forever! Her late husband had the same form of dementia as my Dad; moved to a nursing home the same month and they died within two weeks of each other.

I guess what we want to come from this film is for people to know that someone else is/has been in exactly the same position, facing the same difficult decisions, and that this SPECAL method DOES work. And through its promotion, there will be created a support network for carers, which is very much needed.

Kate x

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Down to Lymington today, to meet a father and daughter whose wife/mother has dementia.

It becomes difficult is to choose which stories we can tell in this first programme. You see, the amount we raise will directly dictate how many days we can hire a crew to film this with the associated costs like travel, insurance, kit hire etc. This programme; its strength, will be in the relating of a range of stories through conversation. The only way these conversations will be true and natural (and, importantly, make the audience know that we understand  what they are going through) is if they are told from the heart with no repetition. To do this, and to give us the ‘edit’ points we need requires two cameras for each interview.

So we hope you understand WHY we are asking for the minimum budget. It’s not to spend on bells and whistles, or expensive lunches (NB – Darling crews – we will feed you! Is cheese and pickle ok?) . It’s so we can tell a wide range of stories and give them maximum effect.

The BEST news of the day was a £1000 pledge to the fund. Thank you. So much.

Kate x

Ps -Derek and Alex –  we’ll also buy some crisps…. What flavour?

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With another meeting yesterday and yet another great story uncovered, the programme is beginning to take shape in our heads.

It seems that everyone so far has come across SPECAL through word of mouth and as a result, many of the stories of those we meet are intertwined, which gives a richness and depth to each one.

The common theme is simple: how much of a difference SPECAL makes to everyone’s relationships – not just those between carer and caree, but between friends and family. We’ve been given a glimpse of how terribly different these end of life experiences would have been without SPECAL and the purpose of telling these stories is to show that an awful diagnosis doesn’t have to lead to an awful end.

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A busy couple of weeks – went to see another potential interviewee yesterday whose friend’s husband had the same dementia as Dad – we’ll meet the friend herself next week when she has a break in a very hectic schedule!

Tomorrow we’re off to SPECAL HQ in Burford, then next week, we’re meeting a chap whose late wife had dementia – he admits he didn’t ‘get’ SPECAL for quite a while, then  realised how well it was working! He’s now a strong advocate, but it was a tough journey for him…

At the end of that week, it’s off to Lymington to meet a father and daughter – this time it’s the Mum who has dementia… Everyone has been so welcoming and so enthusiastic – such a pleasure to meet them and hear their stories…

Kate x

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