An animated short film designed to highlight the social isolation often experienced by people living with dementia has been launched.
The three-and-a-half-minute film, Rosa and Max, is produced by award-winning Tasmanian animator Amara Gantz in collaboration with the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.
The animated short follows Rosa, a fictional character inspired by the real experiences and stories shared by participants in the online course, Understanding Dementia.
The film highlights the risk of social isolation for people living with dementia and how those around them can support people with dementia to remain engaged in the community and in their everyday lives.
“Prior to working on this project, I had little knowledge surrounding dementia,” Ms Gantz said.
“Working on this animation made me realise just how important education about it is.”
The film was developed during COVID-19 and across continents with Amara working in Portland, Oregon on the upcoming Guillermo del Toro animated film Pinocchio
“One of the reasons I love animation is because I know it has the ability to make people have more empathy,” Ms Gantz said.
“I truly hope this story about Rosa helps the audience realise what they can do to care for their loved ones and those around them with dementia.”
The Centre’s Professor of Dementia Studies and Education Fran McInerney said the film aims to encourage people to learn more about dementia.
“Rosa is a character that many people can relate to – she loves music, board games and her dog, Max,” Professor McInerney said.
“She is living independently and, while the symptoms of her dementia pose serious challenges, with supportive and understanding people around her she has the best chance of continuing to enjoy and actively participate in life.
“Our hope is that the more people are educated about this condition, the better quality of life people with dementia will have.
“Over 100,000 people from around the world have already completed the Understanding Dementia MOOC and the feedback we have received is telling us that this course is making a difference and improving people’s lives.”
Dementia is a terminal condition affecting around 50 million people worldwide, with around 250 people in Australia diagnosed with the condition every day.
Currently there is no cure or treatment to slow its progression, however there are care options that can assist people living with dementia enabling them to maintain a good quality of life.
To view the film, Rosa and Max, and learn more about the Understanding Dementia MOOC visit https://mooc.utas.edu.au/the_difference