Dementia play helps families

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A powerful play depicting the realities of a family living with dementia has been touring North Lanarkshire raising awareness of the condition.

The Quiet Riot has been tailored for those working or in contact with families and individuals diagnosed with the condition, including health and social care staff.

It was recently shown in Cumbernauld Town Hall.

The play aimed to create a greater understanding and empathy of the human impact of dementia, signalling a new and innovative form of staff training in North Lanarkshire.

Playwright Maggie Aitken penned the script after extensive research - which included visiting dozens of people living with the condition throughout Scotland.

Kim McDougall of North Lanarkshire Council, who was one of the play’s commissioning partners spoke about how well the play potrayed the realities of the condition.

She said: “The realism factor in the final production was immense. The main character, Isabel, who was living with dementia, started by sitting as part of the audience - unbeknown to the others watching on. In the opening dialogue she stood up from her seat and started wandering around the hall, shouting. The audience was completely absorbed from the very start.”

The ensuing 30-minute narrative saw hardworking dad, Bob, played by actor John McQuiston, battling to come to terms with the changes in life as he helps his wife, Isabel, played by actress Linda Duncan McLaughlin, cope with dementia.

Daughter Sarah, played by Kyle Haddow, tries to reason with her father and persuade him to accept outside help ahead of an imminent visit from social workers.

The project, which is now set to go on another run for social and healthcare staff, as well as other key agencies and groups, was commissioned by key partners in the Reshaping Care for Older People (RCOP) programme in North Lanarkshire.

RCOP combines the expertise of North and South Lanarkshire councils, NHS Lanarkshire, the independent and the third sector.

Following the performance, those who attended, who also included unpaid carers of those who suffer from dementia, formed discussion groups.

Lesley Fishleigh, of the Princess Royal Trust Lanarkshire Carers Centre, who also played a key role in organising the event, said the fly-on-the wall nature of the production helped convey vital messages.

“The narrative showed the type of conversation that will go on in homes across the country before help from outside agencies arrives. That realism has been vital as we want to build up empathy and understanding of what real people are going through.It also provided a reassuring message, in that people who are going through similar situations are not alone.”