Back in February we put out a blog about some of the events and conferences that we were looking forward to being part of in 2020. Little did we know then that the year wouldn’t go to plan for anyone. We thought we’d take a chance to look back and see what we managed to do, what didn’t happen, and what went ahead in a different way. We’ll also give an update on where things have got to with a few projects and pieces of work.
What did we manage to do?
February activities went ahead as planned, so we held our launch event for the Worcestershire Meeting Centres Community Support Programme, which is supporting new Meeting Centres being set up across Worcestershire. Unfortunately, the programme itself was put on hold, but fingers crossed we will be opening for applications in September, so watch this space!
Our series of Meeting Centres ‘Bring your own lunch’ webinars have also continued every month, and we’ve heard from:
- February – Kirriemuir
- March – Droitwich Spa
- April – Dementia Matters in Powys
- May – Northampton and Lutterworth
- June – Community Makers
- July – SCI-Dem
It’s been great hearing how Meeting Centres have adapted to lockdown and been able to continue supporting members and carers during this period.
We’ve also been continuing our work to review and refresh the environmental assessment tools originally developed by The King’s Fund, and are close to launching the new versions. We’ll let you know when they are available.
What’s gone ahead in a different way?
When the original blog was published, we didn’t have anything specific planned for June, but that soon changed with the University of Worcester hosting a ‘Teaching and Learning Conference’. It went ahead in an online format, and we presented on our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies. We’d already been delivering modules online before the pandemic, so actually we’ve been able to share some of our learning to help colleagues who have had to make the change to online teaching and learning at short notice.
We were also waiting to hear if our abstract had been accepted for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Amsterdam, and it was. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go Amsterdam in July, but again the conference went ahead online and Thomas Morton prepared a video presentation for it on ‘The sustainability of community interventions for people affected by dementia: A realist review’.
Two HDRC events also went ahead as online webinars, one in April looking at ‘Responding to walking with purpose and distress in extra care housing’ and one in June on ‘Exploring issues relating to housing and care provision for LGBTQ older people’.
What didn’t happen?
Rather than be too depressed about a trip to Singapore and Australia not happening, let’s try and be a bit more positive. We had 2-day training sessions scheduled in April and July for Meeting Centre frontline staff/volunteers, exploring the elements that make up a Meeting Centre and the practicalities of implementing them. While they couldn’t go ahead, we’ve taken the opportunity to look at developing an online version of the training which should make it easier for people to ‘attend’, and if it all goes to plan this should be up and running by November.
Similarly, we couldn’t host our workshop around ‘Implementing Namaste Care’ in May, but again we’re looking at making this an online event – possibly in October – so keep an eye open for more details in due course.
As well as the events we had planned, other opportunities arose during lockdown that we’ve been able to engage with. To help promote our next round of online modules, we hosted a webinar in June to give people the chance to hear from all of our Module Leads and find out about each of the modules on offer.
Professor Dawn Brooker took part in a CPD webinar interview on ‘Dementia and manual therapies’ for the Academy of Physical Medicine.
Two of our PhD students also organised and presented as part of a sport webinar focusing on ‘Sport, physical activity & dementia’. Dr Chris Russell (who successfully passed his viva online back in April) presented on ‘The experiences of people engaging in sport and physical activity within their local community leisure and fitness centre’, while Becky Oatley presented on ‘How women affected by dementia can benefit from sport reminiscence activities’.
Chris also put together a Vlog for the Leisure Studies Association on ‘The leisure lives of people with dementia’, which again used findings from his PhD.
We’ve also been part of two webinars organised by Empowered Conversations [add link] as part of their ‘A conversation with…’ series:
- ‘What works is what matters: learning to care for people living with dementia in care homes’ – Dr Isabelle Latham presented key findings from here PhD in early July.
- Later that same month, Dr Shirley Evans and Professor Tracey Williamson were panel members for a conversation on ‘Shifting support for families affected by dementia from face-to-face to virtual support’, where the ongoing work being done by Meeting Centres formed part of the discussion.
Specifically related to Covid-19, we put together several information sheets to help people working with people with dementia in different settings, and these seem to have been quite popular. You can find them in the ‘Useful resources’ section of this blog. Dr Shirley Evans also worked on a blog on ‘Creating an Online Community Centre – responding to needs of people affected by dementia during the COVID crisis: Understanding Isolation’ which you can read here.
We’ve not done too badly with journal articles either, with 4 being published since the start of lockdown, 1 more being accepted, 1 being submitted, and at least 5 others in progress (plus plenty of ideas to take forward in due course).
So as you can see, although things have changed dramatically, we’ve still been very busy during the past few months!
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