Lost things find home on film
MEMBERS of integrated living's Woy Woy, Gosford and Gorokan drama groups walked the red carpet recently at Avoca Cinema for the premiere of their short film Where the Lost Things Go.
Dementia services manager Kerry Garth said the 12-month project had brought out the best in all the clients - including discovering they were all comedians.
Clients worked with drama therapist Dannielle Jackson to carry out every aspect of the film's production from concept to scriptwriting, set design, hair, make-up and directing.
The comedy follows the journey of a family heirloom - a gold gnome - which becomes lost, and how it is recovered.
About 40 clients had input into the project and Ms Garth said seeing themselves and their efforts on the big screen had been "a really magical moment for clients, their families and carers".
It was the first time any of them had seen the completed film.
"People were just blown away by what they had accomplished," Ms Garth said.
"That's who he is, who he's always been - so involved and animated," the wife of one of the participants told Ms Garth after the film.
Sadly, at home the man had become isolated and withdrawn and had lost touch with friends and relatives.
Like many, he has found attempting to cover up the effects of dementia and pretend everything is all right too much to deal with on an ongoing basis.
So for the participants and their loved ones to see the real person behind the illness, if even for a few minutes, she said was priceless.
Clients had decided early in the project that they didn't want the film to be about memory loss but about love, laughter and life in general.
"They really came alive, came out of their shells and were so involved and present during the entire making," Ms Garth said.
"They were as captivated as they are captivating in what is a very creative, collaborative endeavour.
"People began really feeling comfortable within their own skins - not being identified by their illness which dictates and defines so much of their lives."
She said the experience had reinforced research that has shown that being involved in drama has health and wellbeing benefits including physical and mental stimulation, increased social connectedness, providing empowerment and a sense of achievement.
While it played no part in the film's title, the lyrics of the song by the same name in Mary Poppins 2 seem particularly relevant and poignant … "Memories you've shed, gone for good you feared, they're all around you still, though they've disappeared ….. nothing's gone for ever, only out of place …."
You can find the film online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFM4l8cRV3g.
To discover more about integratedliving services, go to https://integrated living.org.au.