West Yorkshire film maker documents life of people living with dementia in pandemic

A West Yorkshire filmmaker has documented the lives of families living with a relative with dementia during the pandemic.

Many people with dementia have been isolated from their families whilst living under lockdown in care homes since last March - with over 3000 people with dementia dying with Covid in Yorkshire and Humber.

Documentary maker Scott Coulthard said that he wanted to showcase the stories of families who haven't been able to see loved ones to "share a bit of history".

David Hargreaves and his wife Dawn, from Keighley, feature in the film - last year David caught coronavirus in his care home and became seriously ill.

His family were warned that palliative care may have to be considered, but he remarkably pulled through.

Dawn said: "I don't think people understand how awful it is having a loved one in a care home and they can't see their family and we can't see them.

"We tried Skype but my daughter said it's like looking at a caged animal in a zoo."

David and Dawn are able to see each other in a covid-secure pod at David's care home. Credit: Dementia and Covid: Memories in Lockdown

The film has been funded by Bradford's City of Culture Bid for 2025 after a pitch from Dementia Friendly Keighley.

Scott said: "I think the thing that struck me the most was how open they all were about a very difficult part of their life. They were so open and honest and were happy to share all of that."

He added: "It's kind of told a bit of history. People are living with dementia every day but in and amongst that there is a pandemic going on and it made everything twice as hard if not ten times as hard for them and I'm glad we captured a moment in time that they've had to live with this."

Jan Smithies, from Dementia-friendly Keighley, said: "We want to help more people have an awareness of dementia and not see it as the most awful thing that can happen if we're all there as a town, as a society to support people."

The short film can be found on Scott's Facebook page.