A home care provider is helping thousands of children learn more about dementia and how it can affect families – using a dragon called Simon.
Norfolk-based Extra Hands has been visiting primary schools around the county and, using a cartoon designed by the family of a former GP who is living with Alzheimer’s, is teaching young children about the condition.
The four-minute cartoon is about a young dragon called Simon, his mum and Grandpa Drake, who begins to show behaviours common with dementia, like not being able to find things.
The approach is proving popular as an initial visit to four schools before the summer holidays saw Extra Hands talk with more than 1,000 children by the end of September. By the end of November, the company will have spoken to 3,000 children about dementia.
Anita Walter, public relations and marketing director at Extra Hands, said: “We understand the importance of raising the awareness of the condition within our local communities. There is a wealth of knowledge and resources available for adults, but we wanted to reach out to the younger generation as they are now beginning to come across dementia in their everyday lives.
“We met the creators of The Dragon Story at a convention we attended and were so inspired by her story that we wanted to share it with as many people as possible.”
Dr Bute, who initially diagnosed her own Alzheimer’s disease, said: “We are thrilled that Extra Hands has been sharing The Dragon Story with schools in Norfolk. We believe that children can cope much more easily with people with dementia than adults, because they have no mis-conceptions about dementia.
“Children relate to dragons and cartoons and so some of the issues relating to living and caring for those with dementia are easily presented and understood. The Dragon Story was written by my daughter based on her experiences with my own dementia, and then my son produced the cartoon – so it was a family effort. I strongly believe it is possible to live well with dementia, and that involves educating all ages about what dementia is, so that everyone understands us better.”