YODA film shines a light on young onset dementia

An inspirational short film featuring animations created by BLG Mind’s Young Onset Dementia Activists group (YODA) is helping to raise awareness of the condition.

The group, which consists of people living with young onset dementia (when symptoms start under the age of 65) and their friends and family carers, made the film to communicate their thoughts and feelings about the condition.

Bromley Dementia Services Manager Saira said: “The YODAs wanted to raise awareness of young onset dementia while at the same time learning new skills, and this project ticked all the boxes.”

The group collaborated on the project with local filmmaker Katy Milner.

The film combines the YODAs’ animations with interviews and footage of the group members.

Saira said: “The YODAs played around with ideas to practice using the animation app. Then they came up with themes that interested them and told a story about each person; for example, Christopher likes walking in the park and making smoothies, and Sue likes YOGA.”

The group, which meets weekly in Beckenham, is thrilled with the finished result. YODA member Christopher said: “I love the film! It is so powerful and tells our story.”

Group member Sue added: “I did not realise the power of a voice; it made me emotional.”

And Alan, whose wife Ann has early onset dementia, added: “I had never done animation before and my grandkids can’t believe it!”

The YODAs’ film received a hugely positive reception at a recent Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in London.

Saira said: “Everyone was in tears. They said it was so moving and powerful. The film really gives the YODAs a voice, helping them shout about young onset dementia.”