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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 16 October, 2018
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What does Alzheimer's Disease look like?

Teenagers in Galway are capturing what the disease means to them.

What does Alzheimer's Disease look like?
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TRANSITION YEAR STUDENTS in Galway have been learning about two new subjects this month – Alzheimer’s Disease and photography.

Western Alzheimers and Yann Studios Photography have teamed up for a second year to produce a charity calendar that will include 12 images that symbolise the disease.

Students participating in ‘Capture Create Contribute’ are taking part in two workshops – one on the basics of photography and another on what Alzheimer’s is, and how it affects individuals and families.

Noel Higgins, fundraising manager with Western Alzheimers, said that it’s “vital” young people know about the disease.

“They go home and talk to their mams and dads, or guardians.”

Higgins told TheJournal.ie that it’s important more people are aware of the disease as 36,000-40,000 people are living with it in Ireland, a rate that is expected to triple in the next 20 years.

At the start of all of the classes we ask them who knows someone with Alzeimher’s. There’s always a minimum of 5-6 children who put their hands up.

He added that most of the students know what the disease is but not all are aware of the impact it can have on families if it doesn’t affect them directly.

From what I can gather the kids seem to buy into it and take it on board. [The photos] are not necessarily all doom and gloom, they try to pull out the positives.

Alan Guiomard from Yann Studios has been teaching the students about photography and has been very impressed with the artistic and abstract images they’ve created.

“The quality of the photos were phenomenal,” he noted.

Fundraising

Western Alzheimers provides a range of services including respite, day-care, long-stay care and an extensive home support programme.

The organisation needs about €2-3million annually to run, €1million of which it receives from the Government. Higgins said that it’s becoming harder to raise funds, due in part to the recession and the negative publicity surrounding the CRC and Rehab Group controversies earlier this year.

Photos will be submitted by the schools in October before a Facebook vote will decide the top 24 images. In November, a panel will choose the final 12 images that will appear in the calendar.

All proceeds raised will go to Western Alzheimers. Higgins said the charity is hoping to raise €10,000 this year – up from about €8,000 in 2013.

For more information on Western Alzheimers, visit their website.

Above are last year’s winning images.

1-9 October is Positive Aging Week. For further details click here.

Read: Scientists make ‘major step forward’ in predicting whether someone will get Alzheimer’s

Read: There is only one respite bed per 450 people with dementia in Ireland

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Órla Ryan

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