The Letters of Love and Dementia Campaign emerged from a Celebrate Ageing film called Our Hearts Are Bigger, which shows Anne Tudor and Edie Mayhew opening and reading letters they wrote to each other every day for a week. The film is part of a series documenting Edie’s journey with Younger Onset Dementia and Anne and Edie’s approach to deepening their relationship (see the first film here). The film invites family members, friends and service providers to write a letter to someone with dementia as a way of acknowledging the human experience of dementia.
The Letters of Love and Dementia Campaign was launched in November 2016 in Ballarat, Victoria. The ‘self-funded’ Campaign launch included the film and a call out for people to join the Campaign by writing a letter to someone with dementia. On this webpage you will find the film, images from the Campaign launch and letters shared by people from around the world.
In February 2017 a Letters of Love and Dementia Toolkit will be launched at the National Dementia and Love Symposium (information here). The Toolkit will assist service providers and community members to set up their own Letters of Love and Dementia project.
There are a number of organisations that provide free and confidential phone lines if you need to speak with a professional. The first listed below is the National Dementia Helpline, which is a dementia specific service. The other two (beyondblue and Lifeline) provide crisis phone support. It can be useful to have these numbers handy if you or someone you know needs them:
- The National Dementia Helpline is a free confidential phone and email information and support service which provides information about dementia. The Helpline operates from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. A message service is available so if you call outside operating hours on 1800 100 500
- beyondblue on 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The film – Our Hearts Are Bigger
Responses to the Campaign
The film was previewed at the 2016 Alzheimers New Zealand Biennial Conference and the conference convenor said the film depicted “Arohanui” – a Maori word for ‘A love so big it is an ocean.’ Participants at the Ballarat launch were also invited to respond to the film and project and the responses are beautiful – as you can see from the images below. Special thanks to fabulous photographer Lisa White (photo copyright thesocialphotographer.com.au). We would love to hear your feedback on the Campaign – please write your own message and share it (post, email) with us.
Feedback from Ballarat residents at the Film Launch
Write a letter – join the Campaign
You are invited to join the Letters of Love and Dementia Campaign by writing a letter to someone with dementia. You are also invited to share your letter with us. By sharing your letter you can help others to acknowledge the human experience loving or knowing someone with dementia. Here are some letter writing tips you might find useful:
- Letters can be short
- Write about anything – joys and challenges
- Use words, drawings, paintings, anything
- You can write anonymously – use a pseudonym or just use your first name
- You can write to a person who is living – or someone who has died
- Share your letter on the webpage by:
- emailing it to: firstname.lastname@example.org or
- posting it to: PO Box 1377 St Kilda South 3182 Australia
Use of photos is subject to license, please contact Lisa White The Social Photographer
This content was originally posted on Celebrate Ageing’s website.