Last updated on April 6th, 2023 at 11:41 AM
A ground-breaking new campaign called ‘Wild & Precious’ launches this week (5 April) 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 incredible women living with the illness, women who are carers, and women who have experienced the disease via loved ones. These 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 voice-over from the contributor.
Stories within the museum range from childhood walks in Scottish hills to a bride being surrounded by butterflies on her wedding day.
Alongside this, the campaign features a series of short documentaries, made by award-winning director Liz Unna, telling the personal stories of women who have experienced 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 never disappear.
The UK dementia research community, including UK DRI and leading charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, have had hugely positive impacts in advancing 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 every demographic equally.
‘Wild & Precious’ specifically addresses the fact that, as highlighted in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s recent report, The Impact of Dementia on Women*, 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%) 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.
Yet 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 – a situation that impacts particularly Black and South Asian women.
Alzheimer’s Research UK found in their Dementia Attitudes Monitor, that 55% of all women say dementia is the illness they fear most.
The ‘Wild & Precious’ campaign is determined 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 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 goes on to encourage 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?” and was created by global creative agency WongDoody.
You can see the Museum of Memories, the short documentary films and read further information by clicking here: www.wildandprecious.co.uk