You might recognise Jarryd from the video of him and his Nan dancing, which went viral on Facebook in 2016 and has been watched over 50 million times.
At 24 years old, Jarryd isn’t your typical caregiver, but it’s a role that he knows is incredibly important.
“To be able to create happiness for someone else is the ultimate gift, I think,” says Jarryd.
My Nan is one of a kind. She’s loving, she cares, but she can’t talk so she expresses her love in other waysJarryd Stoneman
His Nan has had dementia for as long as Jarryd can remember. In the beginning she was just forgetful, but as time went on his family came to learn that there is a lot more to dementia. It’s different for everyone but symptoms can include problems with perception, difficulty following conversations and not being able to find the right words. For Jarryd’s Nan, her dementia now means she’s unable to speak so he’s had to learn how to communicate without words.
“My Nan is one of a kind. She’s loving, she cares, but she can’t talk so she expresses her love in other ways,” he says.
While he is no longer caring for his Nan full time, Jarryd remains passionate about caring for the elderly, and he wants to see New Zealand become more dementia-friendly.
“For New Zealand to become more dementia-friendly we need to be more educated on what dementia is.”
Anyone who is interested in learning more about dementia can do a short online course at www.bupa.co.nz/dementiacommitment, and make a commitment to help to make New Zealand more dementia-friendly. It’s free, takes no longer than 20 minutes and by learning about it you could help people living with dementia and their whānau to feel understood, supported and respected.