The dementia Australia NSW blog *Younger Onset Dementia and ME*

*The dementia Australia NSW blog *Younger Onset Dementia and ME* is a place for people to connect with others, to get information and helpful suggestions.

A diagnosis of younger onset dementia can be very isolating. You may have received a diagnosis, be someone who is caring for a family member, or you may have a mum or dad with younger onset dementia. You are not alone. The National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program provides individualised information and support to improve the quality of life for people with younger onset dementia and also see NSW - Younger Onset Dementia . For more information contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Holding On: A Short Film by Jo Southwell

This film directed by the founder of the Henley Fringe Festival about a father of three living with dementia has been selected for this year’s Cannes Film festival.

Jo Southwell, who lives in Oxfordshire, wrote 'Holding On', her directorial debut, after watching her father, Alan, living with Alzheimer’s disease.

The film, which tells the story of a man’s five-year journey with the disease from his point of view, will feature in the Cannes short film corner as well as being considered for the main short film competition and the first-time filmmaker categories. It has also been shortlisted for best short film at the St Albans Film Festival.

She said; 'I’m very happy and proud of the film because it raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, which is important to me.

My mum came over from Ireland to watch the film and by the end she was in tears because she was so moved. My brother and niece who helped care for my dad were also very happy with it.'

Jo's father was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she was 16 years old, and died 11 years ago when he was 67. Jo also said; 'After I wrote the film, directing was the natural progression because it was a story I wanted to tell, and I wanted to show it as I had experienced it. The script originally started as a representation of the actual situation but as the film process went on it became less about my personal experiences and more about how the disease can affect those living with dementia and the people around them.'

The lead role is played by actor Gordon Kennedy, who is best known as Sergeant Bruce Hornsby in the BBC drama Red Cap, and his screen wife, Arlene, is played by Moir Leslie, the voice of Rev Janet Fisher in BBC Radio 4 series The Archers.

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