An unusual project for German television started in January 2020. Based on the BBC factual format "The Dementia Choir" (A Curve Media production for BBC1), a choir of 17 people suffering from dementia was also founded in Germany. For three months, the participants of the choir and their relatives were accompanied on their unusual, emotional and challenging journey. A scientific team from the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt was also part of this project and always present at the rehearsals. The central question of the accompanying study is: How does singing as well as participation in a community affect the life situation of people with dementia and their relatives?
Now, the format around the taboo subject of dementia, which currently affects around 1.7 million people and their relatives in Germany, has been honored as an example of outstanding health communication with the Health Media Award in the "Social Commitment" category.
With this unusual project, the participants not only addressed the question of whether music and communal singing can improve the quality of life and the course of the disease in people suffering from dementia, but also proved that illness and joie de vivre do not have to be mutually exclusive. Actress Annette Frier and choir director Eddi Hüneke from the Wise Guys have been involved from the very beginning. Annette Frier was not only part of the choir herself, she also visits the singers at home and accompanies the scientific tests and examinations. The four episodes of the series "Unforgettable - Our Choir for People with Dementia," produced by Tower Productions under the management of Dietlinde Stroh, were broadcast in July and August 2020 and reached an average of 1.5 million viewers.
With the broadcast format, ZDF, Annette Frhere and Tower Productions has created a platform for the important topic of dementia and how to deal with it, and has given many people valuable ideas on how to live with their own illness or that of their relatives. At the same time, the format from public television stands for exemplary commitment on the part of those involved. The format has thus "Unforgettable - Our choir for people with dementia". more than deserves the Health Media Award 2020. The award, a figurine by the Italian artist Massimo Bramandi from Florence, has been presented by the Health Media Award e.V. for 12 years now.
Producer Dietlinde Strawwhich continues to run the project "Unforgettable - Our Choir for People with Dementia" even after the TV production, is pleased to receive the Health Media Award 2020:
"I am very happy to accept the award for Tower Productions and thank them from the bottom of my heart for the recognition of our work and commitment. I'm really pleased that this important topic is getting even more attention through this great award."
Also Annette Frier is enthusiastic:
"The Dementia Choir and the many enthusiastic and inspiring responses to our project have completely overwhelmed me this year. The Health Media Award is for me the materialized bouquet of all these great energies. Thank you very much! A great gift to all of us!"
Thorsten Haas, deputy head of the main editorial department show at ZDF added:
"Presenting the socially highly relevant topic of dementia authentically and bringing it to a large audience in an informative and at the same time emotional way - that was the goal of this special TV project. We received a lot of positive feedback around the broadcast. The choir will thus hopefully become a role model for many similar ideas. The Health Media Award makes us very happy and is a great confirmation of the project for the entire production team, ZDF and certainly also for our choir participants and their families."
The presentation of the Health:Angel to the awardees must be postponed until 2021 due to the Corona pandemic.