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 

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.

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Focusing on the little things

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up with trying to make big changes or getting things happening at scale, but that means the little things can get overlooked. In this blog we’re going to celebrate a few small tweaks and changes that have happened recently, which have probably gone unnoticed so far!

  • Updating our publications page – on our website we have a page where we share lists of our publications and knowledge exchange activities (if you didn’t know about that page, you do now!). We try to keep the lists updated, but when things are busy it doesn’t always happen as often as we’d like. We’re pleased to say that it’s all back on track now, and every time we update the lists it’s always a nice reminder of what we’ve been doing.
  • Expanding our publications page – as well as updating our publications, we’ve added in a new section on that page to focus on resources. A lot of our research projects result in new (and more often than not, free!) resources. While we share these in relevant places on our website, we thought it would be useful to bring them together in one place, so we did!
  • Sharing our new Meeting Centre videos – we’re very pleased with the two short videos created as part of the Worcestershire Meeting Centres Community Support Programme and have made sure that as well as sharing them on social media, they are also available on our website. In addition to providing links to them in our new resources section (see above), they are available on our Meeting Centres page.
  • Sharing the DemECH booklets – following the recent launch at the House of Lords, links to download the three booklets from our DemECH research have been included in the relevant section on our current research webpage, and before you ask, yes they are also in our new resources section!
  • Adding information about our new research project – ourCrossing the Line’ project has been added to our current research webpage, so you can find out more about what we’re doing and we’ll keep adding to it as the project progresses.
  • Making our Meeting Centre newsletters available – we realised that our Meeting Centre newsletters only get circulated to our Meeting Centre mailing list, when really they should be available more widely. To rectify this, we’ve added a new page on the Meeting Centre blog where we can link to all the newsletters, so if you want to find out what’s been going on feel free to take a look. I’m not sure why we didn’t do this sooner when we already share our ADS newsletters on our ADS blog!
  • Sharing Meeting Centre locations – although it’s a bit of a movable feast with new Meeting Centres opening all the time, we’ve added another new page on our Meeting Centre blog site to say where you can find Meeting Centres across the UK. If you run a Meeting Centre and you can’t see yourself on there (or we’ve got your details wrong), please email and we’ll get it sorted.

So there you go, nothing earth shattering or amazing, but a few minor things that have been going on to hopefully make things a bit easier. These sorts of things tend to be happening behind the scenes all the time, and there are probably many other examples we could have shared. So let’s celebrate the small things every now and again, because they all add 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.

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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.

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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)

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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.
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Herefordshire Dementia Festival

On Monday 24th October, Dementia Matters Here(fordshire) hosted a Dementia Festival at Saxon Hall, Hereford, as part of their Herefordshire Dementia Voices project. The aim was to raise awareness of dementia, help the public get a better idea of what support is available across Herefordshire, and also connect different professionals and organisations. At the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) we’re evaluating the Herefordshire Dementia Voices project (more on that later), so were happy to have a stand at the event alongside a whole host of other organisations – apologies to anyone I’ve missed!

montage of five photos showing the ADS stand, some of the other stands when it was quiet, and the CAMBUS outside in the car park
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National Dementia Care Awards

It was the 12th UK National Dementia Care Awards in late September, and Research Associate Thomas Morton was there to represent the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS). Over to Thomas to tell us about the day:

I headed down to Winchester with a car full of banners, booklets and leaflets on September 29th, ready to set up at the National Dementia Care Awards. The awards, established in 2009 by The Journal of Dementia Care, seek to acknowledge care providers and individuals who have made a significant difference to the quality of life of people living with dementia. ADS Director Dr Shirley Evans was one of the judges this year. My role, however, was to man a stall to talk about the work of ADS, and specifically Meeting Centres, as there is growing interest in the Dutch model of dementia support in the region.

The Dementia Care Awards logo, next to a photo of the front of Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral, which hosted the National Dementia Care Awards 2022
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