The cinema is a magical place, where we see fiction come to life.

Many of us have spent our whole lives visiting the big screen to see the latest blockbusters and Oscar-nominated screenplays.

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with dementia, this shouldn’t stand in your way of attending and experiencing something you enjoy. dementia-friendly screenings are a great way to continue an activity you love, without compromising the cinema experience. 

Here’s the lowdown on dementia screenings, and how you can get involved.

What is a dementia-friendly cinema screening?

The British Film Institute’s Film Audience Network and the UK Cinema Association have created guidelines that enable cinemas to create a dementia-friendly environment.

A dementia-friendly screening gives people the same exciting cinema experience but keeps their needs in mind. This is done through training, raising awareness and understanding the demands of those living with dementia.

How does it differ from a normal cinema experience?

A dementia screening differs from a normal cinema screening in several fundamental ways.

Firstly staff tend to be dementia trained, this means that they can support attendees and respect their needs. Creating a safe space for those living with dementia makes the cinema a far more comfortable place to be.

Secondly, the environment is attuned to the needs of those with dementia. Pitch black settings can be very daunting for those living with dementia. At a dementia-friendly screening, the room will be a lot less dark, with lights often placed on a half setting. 

At screenings like this, there is also a relaxed attitude to how the film is watched. You can dip in and out of the film as you please. So if viewers start to feel overwhelmed they can move around, leave the screening and take a few moments to settle down elsewhere in the cinema.

Where can I attend a dementia-friendly cinema screening?

Dementia-friendly screenings are growing in popularity – and rightly so.

Picturehouse Cinemas regularly put on dementia-friendly screenings across the UK. There are also special film viewings now taking place at the Royal Albert Hall, playing some well-loved classics.

There is also no harm in contacting local cinemas in your area to see if they have dementia-friendly screenings that you and a loved one can enjoy.

So why not head out to the pictures?

All that’s left is to buy some of your favourite snacks and sit back and enjoy the show.

If you or a loved one is living with dementia and you need some support or guidance, you can always contact the Me2U centre. We’re here to help you.