Carer features in new films about coping with dementia

Carer David Gambles talks about coping with dementia in the films. His wife Carol, also pictured, was diagnosed with the illness ten years ago.
Carer David Gambles talks about coping with dementia in the films. His wife Carol, also pictured, was diagnosed with the illness ten years ago.

A Ponteland man is using the story of his wife’s journey through the stages of dementia to support others diagnosed with the illness.

David Gambles has appeared in a series of short films that feature the insight of people living with the illness, along with their families and carers, clinicians and charities.

The videos – which are available online and accessible through GP practices, libraries and pharmacies – were developed by the North East Dementia Innovation Hub, based at Newcastle University, and The Sound Doctor. Funding was provided by the Academic Health Science Network North East and Cumbria.

Mr Gambles’ wife, 65-year-old Carol, was diagnosed with dementia in 2005 and she moved into a care home in 2012.

“When someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, you are suddenly catapulted into a very difficult situation without any training or preparation,” he said.

“I found comfort and support by being with other carers and was happy to be able to give something back by being part of the films. There is no better person than another carer to give an insight into coping with dementia.

“The clever thing about these films is that they are presented in bite-sized chunks, which makes it a much more manageable and digestible format. You can take it one stage at a time.”

The 68-year-old shares personal and difficult details of his wife’s journey from diagnosis to the later stages of the illness.

As one of several carers to feature in the films, he issues practical tips on dealing with dementia and reflects on how the experience has changed his outlook on life.

Rosie Runciman, director at The Sound Doctor, said: “Patients can’t self-manage effectively without really good information and education.”

The films are part of the Dementia Innovation Hub’s Roadmap project, which is an initiative to provide GPs with access to up-to-date information on patient support and services available in their area.

For more details about the hub and its programmes, visit http://ahsn-nenc.org.uk/project/179