Real-life stories from Norfolk dementia carers inspire one-woman play
PUBLISHED: 07:59 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:00 17 May 2017
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Isolation, desperation, exhaustion and love.
These are just some of the emotions expressed by dementia carers brought to life in a one-woman production.
I’m Here was performed by Danny O’Hara - Wymondham Dementia Support Group volunteer and Slow Theatre Company artistic director - at the Norfolk and Norwich Millenium Library as part of Dementia Awareness Week.
The short play, focusing on a fictional daughter of a dementia sufferer was inspired by diaries of 20 carers from south Norfolk and Norwich.
As well as the play, performed on Tuesday, some of the diary extracts were on show.
A sculpture featuring 18,000 crocheted forget-me-nots, representing all the people in Norfolk with dementia, was also on display.
Miss O’Hara said: “The overwhelming feelings from carers were isolation, desperation and exhaustion. It takes over every part of their lives. Every emotion is tested.
“It is incredibly difficult for them but they also have an over-riding feeling of love for the person they are caring for, even through the desperation.”
The 45-year-old actress, from Norwich, became involved as a volunteer at the twice-weekly Wymondham Dementia Support Group after being invited by group founder Dianne Fernee three years ago.
“It has been incredibly emotional,” Miss O’Hara added.
Between 30 and 40 diaries were handed out to carers who were mostly members of the Wymondham Dementia Support Group.
Miss O’Hara said the experience was “therapeutic” for people who got involved.
“I wish there was more practical and emotional support for dementia carers,” she added.
Mrs Fernee said: “It is a wonderful way to raise awareness. I think drama is a good way to highlight dementia.
“We need to give carers a voice.”
For information about Wymondham Dementia Support Group call Mrs Fernee on 07712727897 or visit www.wymondham-dementia-support-group.org.uk
Dementia Awareness Week – supported by the Alzheimer’s Society – runs from May 15 – May 21. Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20167/dementia_awareness_week