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Exeter project creates book dispelling misconceptions about dementia

Age UK's Budding Friends is an allotment project for people with dementia and their loved ones to spend time outdoors. Credit: ITV West Country

A project in Exeter is working with artists to create a book dispelling misconceptions about dementia.

There are an estimated 81,000 people with dementia in the South West and it is predicted this number will rise to more than 100,000 by 2021.

The book features poetry selected by the group. Credit: Budding Friends

Age UK's Budding Friends is an allotment project for people with dementia and their loved ones to spend time outdoors.

The project was set up three years ago.

Dementia can often be isolating but Budding Friends aims to make people feel less like patients and help them live positively with a dementia diagnosis.

Budding Friends aims to make people feel less like patients. Credit: ITV West Country

A new partnership with the University of Exeter has seen Budding Friends team up with artists to create a book to better understand the needs of people living with dementia.

Dr Ruth Lamont from the university says the project helps celebrate people's individuality.

The book is filled with poetry, drawings, photos and other creative works put together by the group.

Humour is an important part of the book. Credit: ITV West Country

Martyn Rogers, Chief Executive of Age UK, says

"They knew what we were doing and they thought this fitted it perfectly, so for the guys who came here it has been great because we have had the artists come down, they've worked creatively together on poetry and cartoons.

"For me, the important thing is how it is going to bring it to a wider audience because there is still a stereotype, there is still a stigma surrounding dementia.

We're all living longer now which is fantastic but with that comes the possibility of dementia. This tries to normalise it and show that you can have a good time, you can do normal things, you can enjoy yourself if you have dementia.

– Martyn Rogers

You can find information about Budding Friends on the Age UK website and more about dementia via the NHS.