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Alzheimer's Society Dementia Advert

(132 Posts)
icanhandthemback Sun 31-Mar-24 12:19:06

Apparently according to The Times , there has been a bit of an outcry about the new advert which refers to the multiple times a person with dementia dies. The link to the advertisement if you haven't seen it is here:

In the Opinion piece written by Sonia Sodha she says, "I found it immensely uncomfortable to watch. Using death as a metaphor to describe the progression of a disease experienced by someone living struck me as horribly dehumanising." I found myself thinking that it was the whole point of the advert. Dementia is dehumanising.
Sonia goes on to say that she has stepped back a little on her thoughts but still thinks the advert goes too far but society sanitises too much. What do you think?
Later she comments, "... because dementia leads to the degeneration of your mind rather than your body; it erodes your memories, your identity and your sense of self." Well, I don't know how many people she knows with dementia but I know from experience that the body does become affected.

One of the difficulties we had was that Mum could not remember to put one foot in front of another therefore she couldn't walk. My grandad completely lost the ability to speak but could still write. There were other things but too gross to mention!

My feeling with my Mum is that I have lost her several times over. I sat in her room howling when over Christmas, for the umpteenth time, I have visited but she just can't wake up. Once it took a month before we could actually talk to her again. The doctors can't find anything wrong and carers tell me it happens a lot with dementia patients.
I felt a loss when I took her out to a music concert with her favourite composer which she would have loved but she just kept saying, why are we here? who's music is this? When we took her back to the home, she was so frightened because she didn't know where she was. My strong, confidant mother has become anxious and scared.

Watching her bewildered at family events, forgetting who the love of her life was, not realising I'm her daughter but thinking I am her mother...I could go on but you get my drift. All of this is without losing my mother as my go to confidant, legal advisor, financial advisor and somebody who understood my sense of humour. That was the nice side, now the vicious side is totally unfiltered! Each time something goes it does feel like a bereavement so I feel the advert is perfect to describe the emotions you go through.

Please do share your thoughts especially if you are caring for or know someone with dementia so have a firsthand experience.

HowVeryDareYou2 Sun 31-Mar-24 12:34:19

I've just cried after watching that clip. Any type of dementia (there are about 200 types) is very sad. I worked as a Dementia Specialist Carer for many years, so saw lots of people whose lives had been affected when their mums, dads, siblings, spouses, etc, had dementia. Now, my lovely sister-in-law is in a care home, unable to walk, dress or wash herself, at the age of 70. Alzheimer's has been slowly killing her for the past 4 years already.

Greyisnotmycolour Sun 31-Mar-24 12:42:05

I think it is a very good advert that brings home the absolute ongoing, heartbreak of dementia, it's rare for an advert these days to be so hard hitting. I haven't read the article referred to but it sounds to me like the author is in denial about the reality of the illness. It absolutely does affect the body often culminating in losing the ability to swallow and slowly starving. It is wretched, cruel, relentless and painfully slow as well. If this advert generates more donations to research it will have served it's purpose well.

BlueBelle Sun 31-Mar-24 12:45:13

I think we all know how it ends for many and I don’t see what help that advert was apart from making us more sad I nursed my Nan for 3/4 years and then my mum had it for 7 years I don’t need an advert to make me feel worse There is little you can do I m next in line I don’t need reminding so I won’t be watching
One in two get cancer one in three Alzheimer’s or dementia not much fun going for us as we reach these bigger numbers

sodapop Sun 31-Mar-24 12:47:12

My thoughts too Greyisnotmycolour so many people suffering now.

Granniesunite Sun 31-Mar-24 12:52:45

I’m living that advert with my husband. It’s realistic to a point as he does “ die” a little every day but its the best I’ve seen so far at portraying the emotional side of living with and having this illness but it does not portray the daily struggle this illness causes. Perhaps that would be a step too far for some.

I watch my husband struggle to walk even a short distance within his own home without becoming exhausted, to get himself up from a seated position is nearly impossible now and he needs help with that he doesn’t speak for days at a time he grinds his teeth constantly no answer for either of these from his medical staff.

As for the toilet/bowel situation I won’t go into that.

Showing shaving and brushing his teeth is an all day affair as he needs time to recover his strength inbetween.

His blood pressure is up and down his medication is most probably the cause but he needs his meds too.

The body is most certainly affected. Perhaps the journalist is of the ‘ it’s a social illness” brigade and is promoting that.

icanhandthemback Sun 31-Mar-24 13:04:27

BlueBelle, I quite understand how you feel even if I don't agree with you over whether we need that sort of an advert. One thing that I have found with my Grandfather and Mother getting Alzheimer's/dementia is that my anxiety about getting it has increased. However, it is making me make change certain things to try to delay it and being aware will hopefully help me to seek help earlier than my elders did.

MissInterpreted Sun 31-Mar-24 13:08:47

Having lost both my own mother and my mother-in-law to dementia, I've always said that you do lose the person several times over - as the disease gradually robs them of everything which made that person 'them', and then again when they finally die. It is the most horrible, cruel disease.

Dinahmo Sun 31-Mar-24 13:09:12

My mother had Alzheimer's many years ago when she was 55. There were not the range of drugs available then as now. I empathised with the advert because I thought each time that my mother deteriorated, it was like a death. I could mark her deterioration in steps - when I had to write a cheque for her to sign; when I found piece of paper where she had been practising her signature; when I had to go to the bank with her to arrange to sign her cheques; when I found her reading the same page in a book or a magazine; so on and so forth. Then when she thought i was her sister and told me how I used to tell her off when she was young; when she no longer knew me (even as her sister) but knew that I was somehow connected to her. This was over two or three years and then the final deterioration when I could hardly bear to see her because it was so distressing.

My mother was long gone before she finally died - following pneumonia. She was in a care home. My sister and I spent the last week with her at the home, sleeping on the settees in the lounge at night. As I walked out of the care home I felt as if a weight had been lifted from me.

My mother lived for about 8 years from the initial diagnosis. That was more than 30 years ago and I still find it hard to remember her as she was, before she became ill.

The advert, as far as I'm concerned is very accurate.

Dinahmo Sun 31-Mar-24 13:13:11

Furthermore - things may have changed but for many years the Alzheimer's Society received around 3% of the donations that Cancer Research received. May be such an advert is necessary for fundraising?

BlueBelle Sun 31-Mar-24 13:16:07

I don’t quite see it that way *icanhandthemback’ I have two close friends with dementia and they caught it early and are in the system taking medication this keeps them from having the ups and downs that my mum and Nan had but they are quiet, dumbed down, they ve lost any spirit their faces empty they are just that totally empty, and I don’t want that
If I get it I d rather carry on as long as I can doing what I can even if I do it the wrong way. I d rather fall down the stairs trying, than sit in a corner with blank eyes.

I do think it’s good to have hard hitting adverts and I m not against this one and hope it makes loads of money I just don’t want to watch it myself, it’s my personal feelings

Witzend Sun 31-Mar-24 13:16:30

Agreed. It was at a fairly late stage, but I was suddenly no longer able to take my mother out in the car to the local park, where I’d park somewhere with a nice view and take a flask of tea etc. She had forgotten how to get in and out of a car - no longer knew what to do with her arms and legs, and would get in a panic if I tried to ‘steer’ her in.

And that was quite apart from the fact of no longer recognising her own children. For quite a while (until she virtually stopped speaking altogether) I was just a ‘nice lady’ who made her cups of tea and brought her chocolate.

Witzend Sun 31-Mar-24 13:21:02

I haven’t seen it, but IMO hard hitting ads are probably a good thing. So many people haven’t a clue - often think it’s just a case of some nice old thing gently getting a bit more forgetful - and too often they’re the ones who try to tell you what you ought to be doing with your relative!
E.g. ‘You must make her do this or that - use it or lose it!’ (no conception that she’s already irretrievably lost it. I could go on….

BlueBelle Sun 31-Mar-24 13:26:28

I told the story before, but I’ll tell it again because it is a lighthearted post amongst many sad ones

My friends Mum was in a care home with dementia. My friend used to visit her regularly but she always complained that nobody ever went. She went to visit her one day and found her sitting on a chair in the hallway, she sat down next to her and tried to start a conversation a few times with no success. She asked her why she was sitting in the hall but got no answer. After a few minutes the mother got up and walked away without a word, my friend thinking she probably gone to the toilet waited a little while, and when she didn’t come back she went to see if she was ok She found her sitting in another corridor, my friend sat down next to and said ‘oh I wondered where you got to’ Her Mum replied ‘well there’s some old woman keeps trying to talk to me and I’m trying to get away from her’ .

icanhandthemback Sun 31-Mar-24 13:31:21

Yes, Witzend, even my own mother who had somehow managed to escape caring for her father despite promises to do so, would say, "It's not that bad," if she heard me saying anything to other people. She obviously had no idea how exhausting and distressing it was to hear somebody shout, "Help," all night long because they were convinced they were dying. I didn't want a medal for caring for him, I just wanted to be able to vent sometimes.

Witzend Sun 31-Mar-24 13:37:49

icanhandthemback, for too many years when I was coping with dementia, I used to find the Alz. Soc. carers’ forum excellent for a good old letting-off-steam vent - at least they all knew what it was like!

icanhandthemback Sun 31-Mar-24 13:55:29

Thank you, Witzend, good to know!

silverlining48 Sun 31-Mar-24 13:57:44

I think the people who have had no direct contact with someone they love who has dementia do have unrealistic ideas of dementia so yes a hard hitting advert ( which I havnt seen yet) is needed to encourage more money fir research because we are all at risk of getting this cruel totally debilitating disease.

Thinking of my dear mum today. She had Alzheimer’s fir 10 years and didn’t know me for her last 5 years but I knew her. Having said that I struggle to remember how she was before and that makes me very sad.

HousePlantQueen Sun 31-Mar-24 14:44:56

well, I think the advert in question is hard hitting, honest and emotional, and the tragedy of seeing the young, lively woman as she once was is stark. The young woman who would have been horrified to see what was ahead. I too have seen both of my parents slip into the fog of dementia/Alzheimers, seen a smart, intelligent articulate woman unable to write her own name on her GD's birthday card, then unable to comprehend what a birthday was, then who her GD was, then unable to remember how to swallow, so yes, it is stark and horrific, but so is Alzheimers. It is not all about old ladies getting a bit dotty. Lovely men like my late Father sitting with a frightened look in his eyes as he looked around the sitting room and didn't know where he was. Yes, both of my parents died several times, and when it was for the final time, I was relieved.

MissInterpreted Sun 31-Mar-24 15:38:20

HousePlantQueen - I too was relieved when my mother finally died after a long struggle with dementia. Years before, she had helped to care for an elderly neighbour who also had dementia, and I remember her telling me that she would never want that for herself.

kittylester Sun 31-Mar-24 15:51:08

I think it is an appalling advert! I have signed the Petition against it- which was started by a woman living with dementia.

There is such a lot of life to be had even after diagnosis.

How dradful to be newly diagnosed with any sort of dementia and then seeing that advert.

I volunteer with lots of people living with dementia, and their carers, and think this is a really scary portrayal of the future.

Primrose53 Sun 31-Mar-24 16:32:20

My Mum was diagnosed at 92 and thank God she deteriorated only slowly. She knew something was wrong and took herself to the GP and was actually quite relieved when she was diagnosed with Alzheimers after lengthy tests.

We carried on as normal but bit by bit I could see dementia taking hold. Her beautiful handwriting changed to sentences with upper and lower case letters all over the place and going diagonally across the page. We went out as normal but she forgot how to deal with cash transactions and asked me to take over. She forgot how to operate the microwave, the TV, the stairlift and after just two weeks of buying a rise and recline chair I found her trying to climb out of it with the leg rests about 3 feet off the ground! She used to try and operate the TV with her phone and ring me on her TV control.

She sometimes confused night with day and if I rang her at 7pm she would ask why I was ringing her at 7am. We had some lovely times together though and some great laughs and I filled a book with her childhood memories and she loved doing that. When she became unsafe at home I visited 14 care homes and finally found a fantastic one and she spent her last 3 years there very happily.

The book of memories went with her and the staff said it was worth it’s weight in gold because in her final year she got very confused, emotional and upset and the staff would read it to her and she would smile and calm down. In the last few days of her life (nearly 97) they read that book to her over and over again and played all her favourite Irish music to her so they were the sounds she passed away to dressed in her favourite nightie, her hair brushed beautifully and wearing her Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers perfume and snuggled under a crochet throw I made for her in her favourite colours of pink, lavender and mauve all of which she had specified in her end of life care plan.

I have highlighted the best parts because that’s what I care to remember and also that she never forgot who I was for which I am truly grateful. Dementia is a cruel disease and it was very distressing for both of us when Mum was forgetting words, wanting to go “home” (she meant to Ireland), needing the toilet all the time because she forgot she had literally just got off the loo and then exhausting herself. Many a time I went into the loo and just quietly cried while she sat in her chair shredding paper tissues which she hoarded.

I have great sympathy for anybody going through this with a loved one now.

Redhead56 Sun 31-Mar-24 16:34:59

My mum had vascular dementia it was heart breaking to see the changes in her behaviour. I cried so much about the way she ended up its a cruel illness. When she died it was a relief she did not deserve that end to her life. That was seven years ago and I still get upset about the way she had changed. If it was me I would want to go asleep and not wake up.

OldFrill Sun 31-Mar-24 16:38:28

This link explains is why and how (co-produced with dementia sufferers) the advert was made
It's hard hitting, truthful and needs to be shown.

OldFrill Sun 31-Mar-24 16:39:40


I think it is an appalling advert! I have signed the Petition against it- which was started by a woman living with dementia.

There is such a lot of life to be had even after diagnosis.

How dradful to be newly diagnosed with any sort of dementia and then seeing that advert.

I volunteer with lots of people living with dementia, and their carers, and think this is a really scary portrayal of the future.

The advert was co-produced with dementia sufferers. Don't deny them their voice