Last week in Worcester

A couple of blogs ago we told you about some of the Dementia Action Week activities that we were aware of. This week we thought we’d let you know how the Worcester-based events went.

On Tuesday 16th May we headed to the Guildhall on Worcester high street to join a host of other organisations with information stands as part of a Worcestershire Dementia Action Alliance event. Organised by Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills, the event was opened by the Mayor of Worcester (at the time) Adrian Gregson and Councillor Lynn Denham.

Image showing two photos from inside the Guildhall. The first features the Mayor giving his opening address, while the second shows Councillor Lynn Denham welcoming everyone to the event

To give a flavour of the event, here’s a list of the organisations with stands (apologies if we’ve missed anyone out!):

Image showing three photos from the event. The first and last show people perusing the different stands down either side of the main room. The middle one shows the ADS stand with leaflets on the table and banners behind it advertising ADS and the two Worcester Life Story platforms that we evaluated recently

People who came along were treated to belly dancing and line dancing sessions organised by Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire, as well as being able to find out about the organisations offering dementia support in Worcestershire. It was also a good networking opportunity for those of us on the stands. We got to reconnect with some people, meet others in person for the first time, and find out about groups and organisations that we weren’t previously aware of. Thanks to Age UK Worcester & Malvern Hills for organising it.

On Wednesday 17th May we had another information stand, this time in the reception area at the University of Worcester St John’s campus. As well as getting the chance to raise our profile and share our knowledge with other members of staff, we were able to engage with several nursing students and provide them with some useful resources to take away and hopefully enhance their studies. One of our Senior Research Fellows Teresa Atkinson also delivered a dementia awareness session for staff who are in a caring role, and it was great to make some new connections and get some good conversations going. Thanks to those who came along.

Image showing two photos. The first is Teresa behind the ADS stand with leaflets on the table and the ADS banner behind it. The second is Teresa standing next to a whiteboard screen delivering her presentation during the awareness session

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

Bid writing and funding workshop

Last week we went to a workshop looking at ‘Bid writing for charities and community groups’ which had been organised by the Worcester City Council Historic Environment Record Officer as part of the Worcester Life Stories project that we’ve been evaluating. We went there with two hats on really, firstly to see what advice and tips we could pick up for ourselves as it’s always good to keep learning about how to improve our bid writing, and secondly to see how the information could be useful to other groups that we work with – Meeting Centres, we’re looking at you here!

The workshop was run by Get Grants, an organisation that provides practical support and advice to groups looking to write and submit bids and funding applications. As well as training sessions, they share funding updates via social media (@Get_Grants on Twitter), run online ‘meet the funder’ events and taster training sessions, and have a newsletter which gives ideas about potential funders.

It was a great interactive workshop combining whole group discussions and practical small group exercises, getting us thinking about some of the do’s and don’ts of bid writing, common mistakes to avoid, and ways to strengthen our bid writing skills to (hopefully!) increase the chance of bids being successful. We looked at how to find potential funders and the importance of doing your own research into the funders to make sure your application doesn’t fall at the first hurdle.

There was also the opportunity to review and assess some example funding applications, allowing us to put our new knowledge into practice by seeing it from a funder’s perspective. The exercise really helped to see how just a few small changes can make a big difference to how an application could be assessed.

It was also nice to meet up with people with a range of experiences from different disciplines beyond dementia, as it gave a fresh view and triggered new ideas for us to think about. We came away enthused with lots of new knowledge to feed into what we’re currently doing. We’ve got plenty of ideas to share with groups such as Meeting Centres, although we’d also suggest exploring the Get Grants website to have a look at what they offer, especially the free resources such as their funding finder, virtual events and ability to watch recordings from previous events.

Definitely a day well spent, so thanks to everyone involved.

Connect with ADS on Twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow 

May madness

It feels like I say this quite often, but as the Association for Dementia Studies is doing a lot at the moment, we thought it would be useful to take stock and draw breath in this week’s blog. Here’s an overview of what’s going on.

Education and training

Our PGCert students have recently submitted their final assignments so our lecturers are busy marking. Before we know it, we’ll be welcoming a new cohort of students on our September modules! If you would like to be one of them, please have a look at our website or watch our new short video. A reminder to current and former students – you are eligible for the Hennell Award so why not apply!?

The next cohort of the 5-week Meeting Centre online training starts later this month, and this time is being facilitated by Kirrie Connections. If this is too short notice, don’t worry, we’ll be running another cohort in July. Have a look at our website for full details and how to register for either course. We’re also working on developing Meeting Centre training for other audiences, so keep an eye open for further updates.

Conferences and events

In Dementia Action Week we’ve got information stands at the Leominster Dementia Conference and The Worcester Dementia Action Alliance Awareness Event (both on 16th May), as well as running a dementia awareness and information session for staff here at the University of Worcester on 17th May supported by having a stand in the St John’s campus reception area.

We’ll also be at the Alzheimer’s Society Annual Conference in London on 18th May, presenting at the Cornwall Dementia Conference down in Newquay on 19th May and presenting at the 23rd International Conference on Integrated Care in Belgium later in the month. Busy times!

We’re also planning our Get Real event to launch and share the findings. Although it’s not until 12th July, our plans are well underway, and if you would like to attend you can register here. As part of the event we’ll also be displaying our Meeting Centres family blanket so don’t forget to send in your squares!

If that wasn’t enough, we’ll be writing abstracts to submit to various conferences such as UK Dementia Congress later in the year to share findings from a whole host of our research projects.

Research and consultancy

We’ve got several research projects underway at various stages, so we’ll be working on these as well as writing articles for recently completed projects. Bid writing is also taking place with several bids taking shape quite nicely (fingers crossed!).

A work in progress is the development of an app version of the environmental assessment tools. The app is not quite at the point of being made available, but it’s not far away – watch this space.

We’re also working on a series of short videos relating to Meeting Centre data collection, both to help Meeting Centre staff understand what’s involved but also to help explain it to members and carers and encourage them to get involved. It’s another ‘coming soon’ situation, but hopefully the videos will be helpful to everyone.

Phew! Same again next month?

Dementia Action Week – what’s coming up?

It’s nearly Dementia Action Week (15th-21st May) so we thought we’d share a few events that we’re aware of. Please note that we are not endorsing any of these, just helping to share the information.

We’ll be doing our bit here at the University of Worcester by running a dementia awareness and information session for staff on 17th May and also having a stand in the St John’s campus reception area to share our knowledge with staff and students throughout the day.

We’ll also have a stand at an event organised by Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills which is taking place 16th May 10am-4pm at the Guildhall in Worcester. We don’t have a flyer to share, but for further details contact or 07974 414056.

In Leominster there are various activities taking place all week organised by Dementia Matters Here, including an art exhibition, conference and picnic. More details are shown in the image below, together with contact information if you want to find out more. We’ll be at the conference on 16th May with a stand, and are looking forward to hearing the presentations taking place.

Continue reading “Dementia Action Week – what’s coming up?”

Different country, similar challenges

This week we hear from Teresa Atkinson about a recent work trip to Madrid (we’re not jealous, honestly!)…

A trip to sunny Madrid in the heart of an English winter is always an attractive proposition, especially when it is to share learning and understanding around long-term care with other countries. The Association for Dementia Studies was privileged to be invited to the Fundacion Ramon Areces in Madrid to their conference discussing Long-Term Care: International Trends and Challenges in Spain. 

The conference was founded on the 2021 Report of the José María Martín Patino Chair, which identified the need for urgent cultural change in the long-term care model of care in Spain, putting people at the heart of its reformulation. Speakers from around the world took to the stage to share their ideas. The first session focused on international experiences of service provision to support future care planning and strategic development. David Grabowski, a Professor of Health Care Policy, from Harvard Medical School, kicked off the session talking about innovations in long-term care in the USA, followed by Adelina Comas, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, who focused on the future of long-term care in the post-Covid era. The session wrapped up with a discussion on the challenges of autonomy and dependency care in Spain by Gregorio Rodríguez Cabrero, Professor of Sociology from the University of Alcalá de Henares.

Continue reading “Different country, similar challenges”

DemECH launch at the House of Lords

We hand over to Teresa Atkinson for this week’s blog to find out about something rather exciting that happened last week…

Well, as they say, all good things come to an end…or do they?

Last week saw the launch of the findings from our recently completed project exploring the benefits and challenges of Extra Care Housing (ECH) for people living with dementia. What a great journey this has been, speaking to care staff, commissioners, managers and, most importantly, people living with dementia about their experiences of living in different models of ECH.

ECH is becoming an ever more attractive housing option as people age. However, there is still much that is misunderstood about what extra care housing can do to support people living with dementia. Our project found that people with dementia can live well in ECH but this is very much based on the individual being in the right place, at the right time and with the right level of support. Understanding the factors that impact on this is of paramount importance if we want to ensure people can live a good life in ECH.

Continue reading “DemECH launch at the House of Lords”

Different countries, same goals

For this week’s blog we hand over to Teresa Atkinson to hear about her experience of presenting at a symposium in the Netherlands.

Mantelzorger Samen – Caregiver together

My recent trip to the Netherlands taught me many things: some new words, some new skills but above all, how aligned we are in our aims to support the post diagnostic needs of those affected by dementia.

In 2019 it was our pleasure to welcome Marleenje Prins to the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) for three months whilst she worked on her PhD. Marleenje lives in Amsterdam and works at the Trimbos Institute in Utrecht. The Institute focuses on a wide range of issues including addictions, youth and older adults. I was kindly invited to take part in their recent symposium: Hoe om te gaan met de diagnose dementie? (How do we deal with a diagnosis of dementia?). The symposium was presented both face-to-face and online, attended by over 80 participants from across the Netherlands. The main focus was to share the findings of the evaluation of the Dutch version of the SHARE project. I was also able to ‘share’ the post-diagnostic support work taking place in the UK. A recording of the symposium is available via this link (Teresa’s presentation starts at 3:09:50)

Continue reading “Different countries, same goals”

UK Dementia Congress 2022

After a pause due to the pandemic the UK Dementia Congress was back to being held in person, and this year it took place at Aston University Conference Centre on 8th-9th November. Although it was a smaller affair that previously, it provided a great opportunity to get back to networking, and made it possible for many of the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) team – past and present – to meet up en masse. (I’m not sure what the collective noun for a group of ADS colleagues would be, but perhaps it’s best not to go there!)

We had a good presence at the conference including:

Montage of photos showing Shirley and Nathan presenting next to slides projected onto a screen.
Continue reading “UK Dementia Congress 2022”

It’s all about the research!

The penultimate Meeting Centre webinar took place on 28th October with a focus on research and data collection, and it captured a range of different perspectives. Following a welcome by Interim Director Dr Shirley Evans who has been heavily involved in Meeting Centres for the past eight years, the first presenter was Jen Bray, Research Assistant at the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), who provided an overview of research around Meeting Centres. She began by looking at the first research project back in 2014 which build on original work from the Netherlands and brought Meeting Centres to the UK. The research identified multiple benefits to both people with dementia (members) and their families (carers), and provided the evidence that Meeting Centres aren’t just a nice idea but do actually make a difference.

Image showing a slide which has a summary of the key findings from the previous Meeting Centre work
Continue reading “It’s all about the research!”

Alzheimer Europe Conference

In mid-October 2022 Alzheimer Europe, an umbrella organisation of 41 national Alzheimer’s associations from 37 European countries, held their annual conference, for the first time in two years. The conference, which took place in Bucharest, Romania for the second time, was in person and on-line and brought together people, professionals, and institutions (government and non-government alike) around a shared mission to “change perceptions, policy, and practice in order to improve the lives of people affected by dementia”.

Association for Dementia Studies duo Dr Shirley Evans and PhD student Nathan Stephens attended, as well as having the opportunity to present their work at the conference. In this week’s blog they provide a whistle-stop summary of their key highlights and reflections of what was a packed programme.

Continue reading Alzheimer Europe Conference