A growing number of cinemas are opening their doors to people with dementia, at very reduced prices. Here’s what you need to know about dementia-friendly cinema screenings
If the person you care for always enjoyed going to the cinema, you might be pleased to learn that more and more cinemas in the UK are making efforts to become dementia friendly, so that people living with the condition can still experience the magic of the movies.
But what is a ‘dementia friendly ‘screening? There’s no doubt that a cinema trip could bring benefits. A good film can stimulate the brain and the emotions, and being part of a cinema audience can help ease isolation and loneliness, whilst also challenging the stigma of dementia. But the experience itself needs to be carefully thought out if it’s to overcome the usual barriers people with dementia might face when embarking on a trip to the cinema. So if your local cinema is offering a dementia friendly screening this Easter (quite a few are), here’s what you need to look out for:
1. The right movie
Classic films are very popular, particularly musicals. Many dementia-friendly screenings involve a musical, such as Singin In The Rain, or The Wizard of Oz. But they don’t have to be decades old. A recent screening of the popular 2008 MamaMia reportedly left its audience dancing in the aisles. Happy endings and films with a feel-good factor always seem to work best.
2. The right time
Many dementia friendly screenings take place early afternoon or mid morning, usually on week days when the cinema is quiet. Make sure your visit fits in with your loved one’s routine.
3. The right price
Money can be very tight when you’re caring for a loved one with dementia. Most dementia-friendly screenings offer low admission prices of around £4 – £4.50 for a person with dementia, whilst the person accompanying them goes free.
4. Relaxed atmosphere
If you want to talk about what’s happening in the film, or sing a long to a favourite musical, you can (and many do). If you need to get up several times to use the toilet, to stretch your legs, or just have a break you can do that too. And if you want to clap or dance, you’ll find it’s positively encouraged!
5. Comfortable surroundings
Sitting in the dark can be confusing, normal film screenings can seem very loud and frightening when you have dementia. However, dementia friendly screenings leave the lights on low so you can still find your way around and the sound turned slightly down.
6. Time to chat
A dementia friendly screening usually involves at least one 20 minute interval, so that everyone can get up and move around, and have a cup of tea. Many older people will remember the days when every cinema trip involved an interval so this could feel familiar and bring back memories.
- Get there early. Audiences are encouraged to arrive in plenty of time so that everyone can get comfortable and settled in their surroundings before the film starts.
- Dementia friendly screenings tend to happen at independent cinemas rather than multiplex. Find your nearest independent cinema here.
Throughout April, 20 Picture House cinemas in the UK are showing the 1950’ hit musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, staring Marilyn Munroe and Jane Russell. To find a participating cinema near you, go here.