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Flourishing: learning about what matters most

Update from Care Opinion

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This guest blog post is by Anna Parker, a Sheffield-based film producer, writer and nurse in the making.

The people you meet and the stories they carry have an incredible power. If you’re lucky you’ll meet people who offer such a different perspective, such insight into life, that it might just change the way you think. The trick is to listen, to reflect and to be open to that change.

The new documentary Flourishing is about people who offer that possibility. Through the stories of three Sheffield families living with young-onset dementia, we are encouraged to look at our own narrative of loss.

With a Yorkshire lilt, Richard speaks about his illness with clarity and understanding: ‘If you’ve got motor neurone disease you know it. But if it's dementia, I don’t know it.’

Whether you’re affected by dementia or not, what the people in this film teach us is something quite intimate. By giving us access to who they are, we work out how we feel. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of film. It asks the questions, but you must answer them.

Dementia care, like most things, is very variable. There are some amazing bits, but there are also some bad bits. We need to do better. People affected by dementia find themselves isolated from others, more often than not.

As a society, we are often frightened to ask how someone is with a life-limiting illness like young-onset dementia, for fear of upsetting someone. Perhaps we are also frightened of what we might learn. But it is happening. It’s a reality. And do you know what? It’s really quite scary.

Encouragingly in Flourishing, it is in the positives that we can learn the most. We made this film to show the courage and the love which shines through in the lives of people living with dementia and their families. The people in this film teach us about what matters most. They give us reasons to be that little bit braver ourselves.

You are part of this story too.

Young-onset dementia demands a radical shift in thinking from all of us. We need to be a more human-orientated, less materialistic society. Organisations such as Care Opinion are part of this change, giving a platform to stories which mean something, posing questions about what matters.

Please watch our film, please share it, please use it, please talk about it. Listen and reflect on the changes that need to be made. And with open hearts, we can make the changes together. You are part of this story too.

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