Unlikely TikTok stars share grandfather's dementia journey

Source: 1News

Alzheimers NZ is praising a family in Thames that have become unlikely TikTok stars through videos highlighting how they care for their grandfather with dementia.

James Kingi has been posting videos on the social media platform showing the daily challenges posed by dementia that are faced by, Jim Kingi, his koro.

Whether it be an impromptu dance with his son, daily chores, or even an unexpected boxing workout, videos of Jim have unexpectedly gone viral on TikTok.

James said accommodating many of his grandfather's old habits were keeping him happy.

"He gets in this whole boxing form, you see his eyes, the concentration and his form. I gotta look out."

The videos have seen hundreds of thousands of likes and James Kingi's account now has 35,000 followers.

Meanwhile, the number of people with dementia is expected to double by 2050, and many will be looked-after at home - like the Kingi whānau who are a multi-generational household.

READ MORE: Dementia rates in Māori, Pasifika, Asian communities set to double

Alzheimers NZ chief executive Catherine Hall said the pair's close relationship is helping to normalise a condition faced by 79,000 New Zealanders.

"I definitely want to say thank you to them for sharing their story… because that can be some of the most powerful things that we can do, is to let others know that they’re not alone."

In fact, the TikTok community has helped out with Jim Kingi's challenges - having suggested a suitable tracking device that means he won't go wandering.

Sharne Phillips, who helps look after Jim, said more could be done to help other families who needed to look after people with dementia.

READ MORE: Dementia patients reclaim skills thought lost through book clubs

"I think there needs to be more education around how to do it. Seeing it in the hospital, there’s quite a lot of whanau who come in with no support," she said.

"It is pretty hard, but with the right support, with the right love - it's possible and it's doable."