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Virtual ‘Museum of Memories’ raises awareness of dementia in women

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A new campaign called ‘Wild & Precious’ has been launched to raise awareness of dementia’s impact on women, supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI).

The project focuses on the cherished memories from women living with the illness, women who are carers, and those who have experienced the disease via loved ones.

The stories are a celebration of life, but also outline the impact dementia has on their lives.

The campaign uses emergent technologies to build a virtual ‘Museum of Memories’ that showcases curated memories brought to life in photorealistic 4D digital experiences with accompanying voiceover from the contributor.

Stories in the museum range from childhood walks in Scottish hills to a bride being surrounded by butterflies on her wedding day.

The campaign also features a series of short documentaries, made by award-winning director Liz Unna, telling the personal stories of women who have experience living with dementia.

To honour the participants, all the memories are being preserved in the Blockchain, meaning they will never change, never grow old, and most importantly, will never disappear.

Grace Francis, global chief creative and design officer at creative agency WongDood said.

“Our participants opened up to help us capture life in all of its complexity — the wild, the serene, the mundane and the profound,”

“We’re so proud to tell their stories and help preserve their memories in the blockchain for future generations to experience.”

The UK dementia research community, including UK DRI and leading charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, have significantly helped to advance the field of dementia research.

However, there are still gaps in knowledge, including of how the brain functions, what can lead to neurodegeneration and how dementia does not impact all demographics equally.

‘Wild & Precious’ specifically addresses the fact that, for over a decade, dementia has been the leading cause of death for women in the UK, and that two in three people with dementia (65 per cent) are women.

Longer life expectancy alone does not explain this disparity, and since women are more likely to care for a loved one with dementia, with around two thirds of unpaid carers being women, this also leads to additional financial and emotional strain on many women.

But across medical research, data is too often missing women, and women are not equally represented in clinical trials, despite being more likely to experience drug reactions than men. *

The gap is further widened when it comes to people of colour due to health system inequalities, with Black and South Asian women particularly affected.

Research by Alzheimer’s Research UK found that 55 per cent of all women say dementia is the illness they fear most.

The ‘Wild & Precious’ campaign aims to tackle this, hoping to educate women about the condition and how to take steps to keep their brains healthy and help to reduce the risk of dementia later in life.

To support this goal, the website will also feature information provided by Alzheimer’s Research UK on understanding positive lifestyle factors that could support a healthier brain.

The campaign also encourages people to register for Join Dementia Research to be a part of vital studies, whilst also offering targeted advice and help on protecting brain health, by visiting Alzheimer’s Research UK’s ‘Think Brain Health‘ ‘Check-in’ tool.

‘Wild & Precious’ was in part inspired by the work of American poet Mary Oliver, whose poem The Summer Day has the final line: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?”

 

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