Herefordshire Dementia Friendly Communities Conference

On a crisp (ok, very cold) and bright morning it was great to see such a good turnout for the Herefordshire Dementia Friendly Communities Conference at the lovely setting of Grange Court in Leominster on 22nd November. Around 80 people from various organisations, services and locations braved the chilly conditions and were rewarded with a warm welcome and a packed day full of interesting presentations and workshops.

Grange Court in Leominster
Grange Court

With Phillipa Bruce-Kerr at the helm, we heard first from Professor Dawn Brooker providing an overview of the MeetingDem project and support for Meeting Centres, followed by Jacinta Meighan-Davies and Simon Lennane who informed us about plans for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire dementia strategy for supporting people with dementia and their carers to be diagnosed, live and die well with dementia. The presenters also considered community issues more widely, including isolation and loneliness, especially for older people.

Phillipa Bruce-Kerr
Phillipa Bruce-Kerr
Jacinta Meighan-Davies
Jacinta Meighan-Davies









Ginnie Jaques, Penny Allen and Cheryl Poole did a triple act on Dementia Friendly Communities, providing information on the current state of play in Hereford, Leominster and Ross as part of work to make Herefordshire a dementia friendly county.

Ginnie Jaques and Cheryl Poole
Ginnie Jaques and Cheryl Poole

We also heard about what’s going on in existing Meeting Centres and some of the challenges they’re facing, from the people who run them and their members. Droitwich Spa (Mike Watts), Leominster  (Janette Pudsey, Joy Valentini, Liz Dedman, Dawn Daw), Powys (Yvie George) and Ross (Sue Murphy).

Following a short break we had a whistlestop tour of what’s going on around the county in terms of dementia friendly communities, and it turns out it’s quite a lot!! We heard from 2gether Trust, Admiral Nurses, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Churches2Gether, Co-op, The Courtyard, Everybody Dance, Healthwatch, Herefordshire Care Homes, HVOSS (Herefordshire Voluntary Organisations Support Service), Primary Care Hub, and Services for Independent Living. It was also great to hear from Andy Stevenson about the ‘Usurpers’ group he’s part of, where people with dementia are involved in carrying out audits to see whether places are dementia friendly.

Andy Stevenson
Andy Stevenson

Two rounds of workshops, one before lunch and one after, generated a lot of useful discussion, focusing on four key topics:

  • Making your community dementia friendly
  • Dementia Meeting Centres
  • Arts, culture and dementia
  • Carers, relationships and dementia.

There was a good deal of interesting feedback and actions to take forward.

The arts and culture workshop
The arts and culture workshop

After a tea break a short Tai chi session led by Enid Gill brought the group back together, helping it to focus on next steps with Cheryl and Jacinta.

Many notes were taken and connections made between everyone, showing a real linkage between organisations, services and individuals across the county. Hopefully this event will be just the start of a new phase of activity. To sum up the day, we learnt that it’s all about valuing people, treating them with dignity, having fun, and the importance of proper coffee.

We would like to say a special thank you to the Co-op as the conference was funded by the Co-op Members Community Fund.


ADS at the UK Dementia Congress – there from start to finish

From the welcome session on the evening of Tuesday 6th November through to the final session on Thursday 8th, ADS was well represented at this year’s UK Dementia Congress in Brighton. We were this year’s academic partner for the event and also had an exhibition stand to help us connect with everyone.

The ADS stand at UKDC

Continue reading “ADS at the UK Dementia Congress – there from start to finish”

The Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice – What is it and why might I want to join it?

As part of a research project we are currently undertaking around the implementation of Namaste Care in the UK, we have developed an online ‘Community of Practice’. We realise that a lot of people won’t know what this is, and even people who are already part of it might not really know how they can use it fully to get the most out of it, so we’ve put together a few bits of information that might be helpful.

What is a Community of Practice?

Put simply, a Community of Practice is “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”[1]. Basically, it’s people with a common interest and a desire to improve. We’re just providing a safe place to enable that group of people to come together and share ideas.

By making the Community of Practice online it should make it easier for people in different parts of the country (or maybe even different countries) to connect with each other. It should also provide a quick and easy way to stay in touch with each other.

Continue reading “The Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice – What is it and why might I want to join it?”

Dementia Friendly Assessment Tools – What are they and why would I want to use them?

The environment in which we live and work impacts on our physical and psychological wellbeing. This impact can be positive and make us feel uplifted and comfortable, but it can also be negative. We know that for people with dementia an environment, be that the care home in which they live, their own home, or the dentist or doctor’s surgery they visit, can cause additional confusion and distress and have a significant detrimental effect on wellbeing.

So how do I know if the environment where I work is good for people with dementia?

ADS hosts a suite of dementia friendly assessment tools which were originally developed by The King’s Fund in response to the Dementia Strategy and the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. The tools were developed using the best evidence available. On average 100-150 copies of the assessment tools are downloaded every month. Continue reading “Dementia Friendly Assessment Tools – What are they and why would I want to use them?”

Meeting Centres Project – Our first Reference Group meeting

On 23rd October we brought together around 35 core members of the UK Meeting Centres Support Programme Reference Group for its first meeting as part of our new Big Lottery funded Meeting Centre Project.

The Hive library in Worcester provided a great central location for our group of academics, people engaged in running Meeting Centres, people from the charitable sector, Innovations in Dementia, DEEP, TIDE, NHS and social care statutory sector, commissioners, professional clinicians and care and support providers. Continue reading “Meeting Centres Project – Our first Reference Group meeting”

Addressing the challenge of providing ‘Care Fit for VIPS’

Ok, so we’re cheating slightly as this post about the Care Fit for VIPS toolkit was originally written for the Bright Copper Kettles blog which is aimed primarily at Activity Coordinators, but it’s actually relevant for a wider range of people who are working with people with dementia and trying to provide high quality care.

I’m trying my best, but am I doing the right thing?

When you’re working with people with dementia it can often be difficult to take the time to step back and look at the care you provide with an objective eye. How can you tell what you are doing really well and where there is room for improvement? The range of resources, products and training courses available around dementia care can also be confusing and overwhelming, and it can take time to explore the different options. The Care Fit for VIPS toolkit was developed as a free online resource to take some of the hassle out of the whole process by helping care staff to self-assess what they’re doing and direct them to relevant resources.

Continue reading “Addressing the challenge of providing ‘Care Fit for VIPS’”

Arts and dementia in Japan: Report from a research visit

Offered the chance to speak at an arts and dementia symposium in Tokyo, ADS PhD student, Karen Gray, jumped at the chance to combine this with further research visits and conversations.

Japan: A super ageing society

Japan is a ‘super ageing society’, in which a currently reported 4.6 million people live with dementia. This figure is expected to nearly double over the next 10 years. While Japan has much to teach the world about being a society living with dementia (it provided the model for the UK’s Dementia Friends movement, for example), the arts and dementia field there is still very young.

Continue reading “Arts and dementia in Japan: Report from a research visit”