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Dementia and us - Still - BBC - Copyright Suzie Howell

Dementia and Us

The story of dementia, told by people living with dementia. 

About the programme

With over half a million people diagnosed with dementia in the UK (Dementia Diagnosis Data, 2020), Dementia and Us is a two-part series following four people with dementia and their families over the course of two whole years. It’s a telling insight into what it’s really like to live with the condition over a period of time, as we follow the families through the ups and downs of life with a changing brain. This is the story of dementia, told by people living with dementia. The series is voiced by Dreane Williams, a dementia campaigner, amateur poet and retired NHS hospital worker who has vascular dementia herself.

Find out more on the BBC programme page, or see our exclusive short film following Marion's story, below. 

Discover the range of qualifications and modules from the OU related to this programme:

Gilly - Dementia and Us - BBC Copyright: Suzie Howell

Discover more

Our exclusive short film, Marion's Story, and wellbeing resources for families living with dementia.

Marion, from the BBC series Dementia and Us. Copyright Suzie Howell

Watch our exclusive short film with Marion

Marion reflects on finding out she has dementia and on life after her diagnosis, in an exclusive short film for The Open University. Introduction by Dr Geraldine Boyle.

Marion's story


Marion’s story shows how she has faced the challenges of living with dementia. She still likes to be independent when she can, but she also appreciates it when her family and friends are there to support her. Of course, we all need to rely on other people throughout our lives.

Being diagnosed with a condition like dementia can mean that routines and hobbies that were previously enjoyed may no longer be feasible, for example, driving and perhaps doing paid work. It can be upsetting for the person with dementia to find out that some abilities that were a real source of pride have now declined. However, Marion’s experience indicates that it is possible to adjust your hobbies and interests to make them more manageable, but also to discover completely new interests. As Marion herself says, it’s important to be willing to try new things.

Marion continues to focus on enjoying her life. When she realised she could no longer drive, she started taking the bus so she could get to her hair appointment. Although she finds drama too difficult now because of her memory problems, she has lots of fun when she goes ballroom dancing. She is no longer working, but she volunteers at her local library instead and has taken up cooking classes. She loves spending time with her children and hugging her grandchildren. For Marion, playing with her grandchildren is worth a million pounds. After watching the video, you should realise that it is possible to live well with dementia.

Dementia and us - BBC - Copyright: Suzie Howell

Wellbeing resources for people living with dementia

You or your loved one should find the following resources useful for staying involved and enjoying life when living with dementia

  • Music therapy for people with memory problems or dementia
    To find out if music therapy is available in your area (England only), check out the website of the Nordoff Robbins charity:

  • Handbooks for people living with dementia or their carers
    For advice on making decisions when living with dementia, handbooks in English, Urdu and Polish can be downloaded from Geraldine Boyle’s webpage:

  • Peer engagement and campaigning groups in your area
    To find out about peer engagement or campaigning groups in your area, check out the UK Network of Dementia Voices:

Meet the OU experts

Dr Geraldine Boyle, The Open University
Dr Geraldine BoyleSenior Lecturer, (Health) Nursing - School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care NursingVIEW FULL PROFILE
Dr Geraldine Boyle, The Open University
Dr Geraldine BoyleSenior Lecturer, (Health) Nursing - School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care Nursing

Geraldine is a Senior Lecturer (Health) in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care. She is a member of the National Mental Capacity Forum and the Socio-Legal Studies Association and is also an Editor for the journal: Health and Social Care in the Community.

She is currently undertaking qualitative research on the wellbeing of young adult carers.

Dr Sam Murphy, Associate Head of School, Health, Social Care 
Dr Sam MurphyAssociate Head of School, Health and Social CareVIEW FULL PROFILE
Dr Sam Murphy, Associate Head of School, Health, Social Care 
Dr Sam MurphyAssociate Head of School, Health and Social Care

I joined the Open University in June 2010 to work on K260, Death and dying. Up until then I had been a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Westminster.

Since joining the OU I have worked on modules at all levels of the undergraduate programme in Health and Social Care as well as our Masters in Advancing Healthcare Practice. I have been academic adviser on several co-productions (with both the BBC and Channel 4) including the BAFTA-nominated documentary How to Die: Simon's Choice.

I was appointed Assistant Head of the Department of Health and Social Care in November 2015 and, since August 2016 I have been Head of the Health and Social Care Curriculum Area. 

My specific interest in the area of death and dying is pregnancy loss and my ESRC-funded doctoral research, undertaken at the University of Surrey, was a sociological exploration of parental experiences of stillbirth.  I am also a member of the Association for the Study of Death and Society and the British Sociological Association.

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