Course options – what can you study?

Last week our blog told you that if you’ve studied with us on any of our courses you were eligible to be nominated for the Hennell Award, so this week we thought we’d tell you a bit more about the courses themselves! Using the list from last week:

Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies

Hopefully it won’t be a surprise to any of you that we offer a fully online Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies, as we’ve mentioned it just a few times in previous blogs! We’ve got a range of modules available covering different aspects of dementia, and different ways to study.

  • You can do the whole Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)
  • You can do the Postgraduate Award, which is a double module (30 credits)
  • You can study an individual module that particularly takes your interest (15 credits). If you enjoy it, you can always go on to do other modules or complete the Certificate, so it’s a non-committal way to see how you get on.

Our new cohort of students has just started, but the next modules will begin in September. If it’s the sort of thing you’ve been considering, or maybe you’ve got a few questions to work out if it’s right for you, please have a look at our website and get in touch. You’re not committing to anything, so it won’t hurt to ask, and there’s no such thing as a silly question!

Courses for professional groups and organisations

It’s actually quite difficult to tell you much about these courses as there isn’t a ‘standard’ course and any education would be tailored to the requirements and particular areas of interest of the target audience. Our courses are delivered using a combination of online and face-to-face options. It’s worth noting though that we are pretty much fully-booked for 2023, so while we welcome enquiries we would be unlikely to look at course delivery for a good few months. It’s always good to plan ahead though!

Meeting Centres online training

Anyone looking to initiate and run a Meeting Centre – or anyone who works or volunteers at one – should take a look at this 5-week online course. It will support you to consider the different elements that make up a Meeting Centre and explore the practicalities of implementing it. This will include looking at:

  • The Meeting Centre ethos
  • The Essential Features of a Meeting Centre
  • The Adjusting to Change model and how this model can be used in practice to support both members with dementia and family carers
  • The physical, social and psychological effect of movement on individuals, with the opportunity for staff/volunteers to start to consider how this can be incorporated into the Meeting Centres programme.

We’ve got dates set up throughout 2023, with the next course starting at the beginning of April. You can find out more about the course and the dates on our website.

Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia

This fully online course will develop your knowledge and confidence in facilitating physical activity for people affected by dementia. You will have the opportunity to learn from experts in the dementia and physical activity fields, as well as hear directly from the those with lived experience of dementia. It’s suitable for anyone working with people living with dementia or family carers, whose role involves the provision of physical activity. You might work or volunteer in care, health, housing, sport, leisure, or community-based services.

The course will enable you to:

  • Deliver physical activities and exercise which best suit individual wishes, as well as those of everyone in the group.
  • Understand the benefits for people affected by dementia taking part in physical activity and exercise.
  • Encourage and support people to participate, and know how and why to involve family carers in physical activities.

The next iteration of the course will be starting in April, with live sessions taking place on Tuesday mornings. Please see the flyer below for more information, and use the contact details within it to ask any questions.

Hopefully that gives you a flavour of our education and training, and maybe even encourages you to think about studying with us.

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

Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia

This week we hand over to Dr Chris Russell who reflects on our online course ‘Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia’. Over to you Chris…

People affected by dementia (individuals living with dementia and also members of their family and close friends) want to continue doing things they have always enjoyed. Why would this not be the case? I know, because of research that we have completed here at the Association for Dementia Studies. This has explored activities that people can participate in perhaps for interest, for a sense of fun, or purpose, encapsulated by the term ‘leisure’. Such things contribute to making us who we are; they are part of everyday life.

Leisure includes activities as diverse as painting and listening to heavy metal music, with everything in between (and extending out on both sides!). It forms part of the jigsaw of everyday life. What one person enjoys might not be the preference of the next, but there should be something there for everyone. Taking part in physical activity is an aspect of this jigsaw, and physical activity is brimming with diversity too as it can include going for a walk, dancing, playing table tennis, going to the gym etc. It might not be every person’s first preference (although for many it is in one shape or form), but when one considers just how varied these activities can be, it is a feature of most of our lives.

Our research also highlighted that there are many people and services wishing to offer opportunity for people affected by dementia to take part in physical activity, but who often lack the skills and confidence to do so. There are already fantastic examples of good practice happening in leisure centres, sports clubs, community settings, care homes and hospitals, but there are plenty of others keen to contribute, who currently hesitate.

This was the background to the design and delivery of ‘Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia’, an online course extending over eight weeks, whose aim is to meet that need – to offer learners the knowledge and confidence to provide physical activity for people affected by dementia. The programme, generously supported through its development phases by both the Leisure Studies Association and Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire, has reached an exciting stage. Following a successful pilot earlier this year the second ever run of the course has just concluded, with arrangements in place to offer it for the first time to learners recruited by an active partnership, i.e. a charitable organisation responsible for supporting grassroots physical activity across a whole city or county in England.  

At such a moment it is timely to reflect on some of the learning from the most recent run of the course:

  • There is interest in offering physical activity to people affected by dementia as a leisure choice. Over the last few weeks, for example, we have worked with learners from close by in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, but it has also been a great pleasure to welcome colleagues from London, Ireland, Scotland, the USA, the Czech Republic and Germany, providing support or care in settings including hospital wards and care homes, and the wider community. We were also delighted to welcome a colleague facilitating walks in the highlands of Scotland, and another offering Irish Dancing adapted for people affected by dementia.
  • The group of learners, coming from such diverse work or voluntary settings, provided a positive foundation for the programme which enabled the tutors to weave in theory and practice from dementia, physical activity and leisure contexts. As the course progressed these worked in combination to provide each learner with unique and valuable insights to incorporate in their own practice.   
  • The range and nature of the physical activity offered by the learners, in the myriad of settings where they operate, highlights that there remains uncertainty about just what ‘facilitation of physical activity’ means, and what might be ‘best practice’.        
  • A community of learning was fostered by participation, which extended beyond the course itself. For example, contact details were shared, and learners put each other in touch with further opportunities for professional development. This included attendance by several of them on Age Scotland’s online Body Boosting Bingo, which proved very popular!        

So, we have gathered plenty of learning ourselves on what works well and what could be fine-tuned as we move into the next phase of ‘Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia’. It is a great pleasure to be able to work with people committed to supporting people affected by dementia live lives of quality, in particular with regards to activities and interests that individuals wish to uphold and progress. The new year signals exciting times ahead.

If you would like to find out more about the course, please see our flyer and get in touch with us using the details provided on it. You may also be interested in a poster about the pilot course that we developed for the recent UK Dementia Congress.

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

Championing physical activity

We’re proud that after a successful pilot earlier this year, our online course on ‘Championing physical activity for people affected by dementia’ will be running again later this year. We are grateful that the funding we received from the Leisure Studies Association and Active Herefordshire & Worcestershire enabled us to successfully develop and pilot the course earlier this year. For the next iteration we are charging a very reasonable rate to attend the course. With this in mind we thought we’d tell you a bit more about how the course was developed and piloted, and what difference it made to students. Thanks go to other members of the Association for Dementia Studies for sharing their slides from a recent presentation about the course at the University of Worcester’s Learning and Teaching Conference.

The course logo, showing a stylised figure with its arm outstretched, and the course title 'Championing physical activity for people affected by dementia'
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From PhDs to Practice

This week we hear from Dr Chris Russell with news about a novel course supporting opportunities for leisure and physical activity for people living with dementia. Over to Chris…

Eighteen months ago I completed my PhD which investigated the experiences of people living with dementia as they took part in physical activity, close to home, in their local leisure centre.

It was a labour of love. The cliché, that you should always study a subject which you feel passionate about when completing a PhD, was true for me. I love spending time with people living with dementia and their family members, I also have a lifelong passion for sport and physical activity.

Some of the findings and detail about how I went about the research have been published in a journal article, and there is another one in its final stages. More will be included in a chapter of a book about dementia and leisure which will be published next year.

Continue reading “From PhDs to Practice”

Rising to the challenge

This week it’s over to Dr Becky Oatley to tell us about what she’s been up to:

It is a freezing cold night in the middle of Winter. Indeed, I scraped the ice from my car before I hit the road. I’m wondering what has possessed either me or my companion to agree to this idea. As I reach my destination, the bright lights of the new leisure centre rear up out of the gloom. I am here to meet Jane and we are about to try a dementia friendly swimming session.

I first met Jane through the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS). She has done work with us for several years. Jane is living with an atypical dementia and was a member of the original LINK Group – a group of people with lived experience that supported ADS in their work. Jane has continued to work with us and has contributed to research and teaching across many projects and modules. She is a much-valued member of our team! Most recently, she has been helping edit a book about leisure, and contributed some key content about the value of physical activity to be used on the new PALDem course.

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Championing physical activity

The Association for Dementia Studies has successfully applied for funding from the Leisure Studies Association and Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire to develop and pilot an online course on ‘Championing the role of physical activity as a leisure choice for people affected by dementia’. Although the course won’t be delivered until next year, we wanted to tell people about it now as we’re already quite excited!

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Active Aging Week – sport, physical activity and living well with dementia

This blog was written by Becky Oatley who is currently undertaking a PhD focusing on dementia and sports reminiscence, memory and nostalgia, in particular engaging with the cultural dimensions of sport as a means of improving the lives of people living with dementia. Over to you Becky:

With the celebration of Active Aging Week upon us, now is an important time to talk about sport, physical activity and living well with dementia. However, in comparison to previous years, Active Aging Week likely looks a little different. Before events of 2020, the thriving University of Worcester Senior Physical Activity & Adapted Sport programme has had over 300 adults aged 60+ attending a wide variety of activities here at the University of Worcester. The unprecedented COVID-19 situation has put all that on hold and the long-term effects could be significant.

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Sport, physical activity and dementia

On Thursday 16th July nearly 150 people joined members of the Association for Dementia Studies team and the Senior Physical Activity & Adapted Sport (SPAAS) team for a webinar on ‘Sport, physical activity & dementia: Discussions for practice from the University of Worcester’.


The webinar was opened and chaired by Dr Yvonne Thomas from the University’s School of Allied Health and Community, welcoming everyone and setting the scene for the rest of the session.

The experiences of people with dementia engaging in sport and physical activity within their local community leisure and fitness centre

Up first was Dr Chris Russell who presented on his recent PhD. Following an initial literature review of existing evidence and a scoping survey, Chris’ research focused on four people with dementia who participated in activities within three community leisure and fitness centres, giving the opportunity to get an in-depth understanding of their experiences. Using a participatory approach meant that Chris found himself joining in a variety of different sporting activities during his study.

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Combining movement and enjoyment – Experiences of seated exercise at dementia cafés

As summer draws to a close Becky Oatley, one of our sport and dementia PhD students reflects on her experiences from the past few months. (Photos, names and quotes are used with permission from participants). Over to Becky…

This summer has provided a plethora of international sport to distract me from my PhD research. From the Lionesses capturing my heart at the women’s world cup, to the dramatic twists in the cricket, to a trip to Liverpool for the netball world cup, there have been some sporting moments I’ll remember for quite some time.

Closer to home, there are some sporting images that will stick in my mind too. The look of joy on Jean’s face as she caught the ball for the first time in Evesham, the energy buzzing from Hilary as she gushed about seated zumba and the pride Henry took in how quickly he rolled up his elastic band.

Continue reading “Combining movement and enjoyment – Experiences of seated exercise at dementia cafés”

Leisure time for people affected by dementia: reflections on attending the Leisure Studies Association Conference in Dundee

Chris Russell, one of our PhD students in sport and dementia reflects on a recent conference he attended…

Between July 9th and 11th I attended the Leisure Studies Association (LSA) conference hosted by Abertay University, in Dundee.

Logo for the Leisure Studies AssociationRegistration banner for the conference

The LSA is a learned academic society which addresses leisure issues from a range of academic disciplines, industry, commerce and government. Through its work, and that of its membership, it explores ways in which leisure represents the state of society and the effects of social change.

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