On Wednesday October 4th at 2pm Filmwex Productions in association with Wexford Arts Centre present a Dementia Awareness Event. The film documentary ‘buttons, zips & belt buckles’ (80mins) by award winning Wexford filmmaker Philip Bertrand Cullen will be screened. The documentary is a truthful, honest and open account of Edward and Deirdre Barker navigating their way through the complex journey of Dementia. Nine years ago, they met online. They were both in their 60’s. He lived in America and she lived in England. For the first year and a half they spoke to each other every day on Skype and then they decided to get married and settle down in Wexford. Thus starts the story of Edward and Deirdre Barker’s life together. After the screening a Q&A session will take place. Laurence Collins, Alzheimer’s Ireland and Jason Carroll, Family Carers Ireland, Wexford will answer any questions regarding resources available to carers and Dementia sufferers. This is an opportunity for people to ask the questions that will inform, assist and connect them to the information they may need to navigate their own Dementia journey. The intention of this event is to raise awareness and open up a discussion on dealing with Dementia and all it entails. To hopefully connect, inform and assist people who might find themselves starting out on the Dementia journey and to those who have already begun their journey. As well as information tables there will also be a c.d. of recorded songs by Ed Barker titled ‘I Ain’t Dead Yet‘ and a book of poems, a dementia journey in poetry titled ‘be like water ‘ written by Deirdre McGarry Barker. There are an estimated 65,000 Dementia sufferers in Ireland today according to official reports. When you take into consideration the family members and friends who care for Dementia sufferers that figure of 65,000 increases substantially. Pinning down the different types of Dementias that are associated with different age categories would be a complex undertaking. The truth is there is no way of calculating what the actual true figures are. This 65,000 figure seems a drop in the ocean when it looks like everybody you talk to seems to know somebody who suffers with one of many Dementia conditions or they know somebody who cares for a Dementia sufferer. One thing is clear, everyone who finds themselves in this life changing Dementia cycle, be it sufferer or carer will experience a similar journey. A journey that will challenge both the physical and mental state of the best of us. A whirlwind of emotions that encompass loss, grief, mental strength, reliance, acceptance and self-discovery to name but a few out of a long list of potential feelings and emotions that may be experienced. When one finds themselves in the Dementia life cycle it is without doubt a place where the true meaning of the human spirit becomes apparent. For the sufferer discovering the strength to transition between an outward world to an inward world and then to an acceptance of this new world. For the carer a discovery of hidden strengths both physically and more importantly mentally. Strengths that allow a person to cope, to accept help without condition. Strengths that make a person stronger in every aspect of the word which then allows that person to move forward with a new version of their life. A life that can be as meaningful and loving as the life they had before Dementia.
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