A period of change

As usual, there’s a lot going on within the Association for Dementia Studies at the moment, so to help you (and us!) keep track here’s a brief update.

Coming to an end

We’ve got a few projects due to finish in the next couple of months, such as:

  • The Herefordshire Dementia Voices (HDV) evaluation, which is looking at the extent to which the HDV project met its intended outcomes of finding and hearing the voices of people affected by dementia. If you’d like to share your views on this project, you don’t have long – our online survey closes very soon so don’t miss out!
  • Worcester Life Stories, which comprises two online platforms (Know Your Place and Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire) has been the subject of a few previous blogs, and again you don’t have much time to share your views and feedback with us using the following surveys.
  • The Get Real with Meeting Centres project is in its final phase of pulling all of our findings together and working out how to present and share them with different audiences. We’re consulting with various stakeholders to make sure we get it right, and have some exciting plans for creating both booklets and videos to explore different ways of making our findings accessible.
  • The ‘Embed’ phase of our Meeting Centres work is due to end soon, but have no fear! We’ll be continuing to work on Meeting Centres, primarily focusing on keeping our existing Meeting Centre network going and continuing to support new Meeting Centres to get up and running.
  • The DemECH project which has been looking at Supporting People Living with Dementia In Extra Care Housing is in the reporting phase, and we hope to be able to share the outputs with you in the near future.

Beyond research, our September cohort of students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies has recently submitted their final assignments, so best of luck to everyone!

Getting going

We do have quite a few things just starting up (and others in the pipeline that we can’t quite tell you about yet!), such as:

  • A new project is Crossing the Line, which is looking at the challenges faced by family carers relating to providing personal care for people living with dementia. Keep an eye out for more information about this project in the future as it gets going properly.
  • Another project is an evaluation of a new staff role that’s been created within a care-enabled assisted living scheme for older people, with the aim of improving engagement and reducing loneliness among their community. It’s in the early stages, but looks like an exciting project so far!
  • We’re also very pleased to be undertaking some work to develop a suite of apps based on the existing Dementia Friendly Environmental Assessment Tools. Again, this hasn’t been going for very long, but it’s already looking great – watch this space for updates!

Our new cohort of Postgraduate Certificate students has just started, and several other courses (both online and in person) have also got going in January with others starting soon. Looking slightly further ahead, we’ve got new cohorts of our Meeting Centres online training and Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia (online) starting in April, so have a look at the relevant information and get in touch if you are interested in either of those.

Nothing ever stands still at the Association for Dementia Studies, but we’ll try to keep you updated with our news in the future.

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

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

Hennell Award Launch 2023

We’ve had blog posts about The Hennell Award before, most recently announcing the 2021-2022 winner Stu Wright, and we’re pleased to announce that nominations for the 2022-2023 Award are now being accepted.

The Hennell Award celebrates innovation and excellence in dementia care, and is opened to anyone who has taken part in one of our education or training courses. Have a look at the list below and see if they apply to you.

  • Our Postgraduate Certificate modules – have you taken your learning back into practice and made a difference to the people you work with? Maybe you’ve studied on our ‘Enabling Environments’ module, made your care environment more dementia friendly and seen the impact of those changes. Maybe the ‘Advanced Dementia’ module has inspired you to think differently about pain assessment.
  • We deliver courses for professional groups and organisations, such as care providers – think about what’s changed as a result of those courses. Maybe you’ve carried out a VIPS assessment using the Care Fit for VIPS toolkit and have made changes based on your findings. Maybe you’ve been able to share your learning with colleagues.
  • If you’ve been on our Meeting Centres online training you’re also eligible – have you set up a Meeting Centre following the course? Maybe you’ve been able to measure the impact that your Meeting Centre is having on the members and carers who attend. Maybe you’ve used what you learnt on the course to overcome a particular challenge.
  • Last, but by no means least, you can also be part of the Hennell Award if you’ve been on our Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia course (please check with us for latest dates and fees) – have you noticed a difference in your practice? Maybe you’ve introduced physical activity into your existing work with people with dementia. Maybe you’ve adapted your exercise class to make it more dementia friendly and inclusive.

Basically, there are multiple ways that you could be our next Hennell Award winner, and we want to hear from you. You can nominate yourself (don’t be shy, why not celebrate and be proud of what you’re achieving?!), or you can nominate someone else if you know a friend or colleague who is doing great work and deserves to be recognised. Find out more about previous winners and also get a copy of the nomination form from our website.

You’ve got until 3rd July to get your nominations in so there’s plenty of time to get thinking, but don’t leave it until the last minute!

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

Getting ready for the academic year

With August rapidly disappearing, we’re putting the finishing touches to our Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Dementia Studies modules which will be running from September. They’ve all run before, so it’s mainly a case of making a few tweaks based on student feedback and adding in any new information to keep them current. It’s not too late to enrol if you’re interested in studying with us (or get ahead of the game and get sorted early for a January start!), and don’t forget you can sign up for a single module before making a decision about whether to do the full Postgraduate Certificate. So what can you study?

Starting in September

  • MDEM4001 Person-Centred Leadership: The VIPS Approach – Nicola Jacobson-Wright will be leading this module, and this is the mandatory module if you’re doing the full PGCert. On this module Nicola will be focusing on the development of the students’ leadership skills to critically analyse service provision for people living with dementia from the perspective of the person living with dementia, and how they can lead services to work better from this perspective.
  • MDEM4004 Supporting People Living with Advanced Dementia – On this module, Mary Bruce will be encouraging students to consider the important aspects of care planning and approaches to support relevant to the care of people living with advanced dementia. Students will consider the utility of identifying and defining advanced dementia and consider the ways in which this impacts upon the person, their family, health and social care professionals and other agencies delivering support.
  • MDEM4005 Enabling Environments for People Living with Dementia – Led by Teresa Atkinson, this module will help students understand how opportunities and constraints in any given environment can impact on people with dementia is important to supporting well-being and the citizenship of people living with dementia regardless of where they reside. This module examines the creation of dementia friendly communities, enabling environments in the home and health care settings, as well as the contribution of the person-environment fit to well-being, autonomy and preservation of self and identity.
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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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Putting learning into practice

Our January cohort of students have completed their Postgraduate Certificate modules, and our next cohort is yet to start in September, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at what our students think about the course and how they’ve been putting their learning into practice. This blog uses a lot of the information presented by our Module Leads during a recent ‘Learning and teaching conference’ hosted by the University of Worcester where they looked at ‘What can FULLY online learning teach us?’ Thanks to the team for allowing us to use some of their images.

Module Lead Teresa Atkinson presenting at the conference
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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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What has 2022 got in store?

It’s that time of year when we try to look ahead at what’s coming up over the next few months, although if you’ve been following our blogs for a while you’ll know that things don’t always go to plan!

So without putting too much pressure on ourselves, here are a few of the things we think (hope!) will be happening. This doesn’t include our ongoing research projects and bespoke education courses, so it looks like we could be quite busy!

Continue reading “What has 2022 got in store?”

The Hennell Award winner 2021

A few weeks ago at the University of Worcester graduation the latest winner of the Hennell Award for Innovation and Excellence in Dementia Care was announced. A huge congratulations go to Sue Ashcroft, who is the Approaches to Care Lead for Dementia and Lifestyle Services at Care UK.

Sue with Suzanne Mumford (Head of Nursing, Care and Dementia at Care UK), who nominated her for the award
Continue reading “The Hennell Award winner 2021”