I was talking to a friend about dementia, and I forget that there are people who have not come in contact with people with dementia. They have little awareness about dementia despite the information through the media and multiple health promotions campaigns. They tell me it’s just people being old and forgetful. That doesn’t even come close. We talked about dementia, but I get the feeling that the words were just empty nothingness sailing pass like the boats down the river on a hot summer’s day. I turned to Jake Hearth’s series of photos for help and that hit home hard. Giving the person a realistic glimpse of what dementia can be without the glitz and glamour of the media. After that experience, I thought perhaps it might be useful for others who may require photography as a medium to raise awareness about dementia.
Below are 3 sites that contain photographic life stories of love, courage and strength in the face of dementia.
1. This is what Early Onset Dementia looks like.
If you haven’t seen Jake’s photos, the link is at the bottom. Jake’s photos took the net by storm and his photos on Reddit went viral and before I knew it, I saw articles about his photos in the Huffington post, the mirror and even in the daily mail. His photos document the progress of his mum and his family in the last decade as they work to care for his mother, Jacquie, 58 who is living with Pick’s Disease. His photos have certainly touched my heart and many other and I am thankful for him to be sharing his photos of his family’s experience to help raise awareness of dementia.
From http://imgur.com/a/Wlyko with the caption: This was taken in 2005 or so. At this point, Jacquie had Pick’s Disease, but it had been misdiagnosed as menopause. She would be about 48 here.
2. Mylene & Yu Heng
This beautiful 2014 photo blog by Yeo Kai Wen shares with the world, the story of Mylene, who is a domestic worker from the Philippines and Yu Heng, an elderly lady with dementia. In Singapore, some families may hire foreign domestic workers to help care for their family members with dementia. Mylene has been living with Yu Heng for 7 years now, and provides care for her 24 hours a day.
3. My Father Has Gifted Hands
This is a project by a photographer only going by the name of J.R. who created a photo essay to share and document his family’s experience with his father’s living with frontotemporal dementia. It’s a very touching photo essay as J.R. chronicles photos of his father’s progress.
He touches on the beginning of dementia and the signs and symptoms that his father exhibits. He talks about his father’s progress with dementia and details incidents which marks each milestone and the achievements that his dad had done throughout his lifetime. This photo essay shares with people the challenges that family caregivers face and the sacrifices that they make to keep the family together.
I hope these sites would prove useful and a big thank you to the caregivers and photographers who have shared these stories using photography to raise awareness about dementia.