News archive

News Archive 2021

New research project begins - DemECH: Living with dementia in extra care housing

We are proud to announce that we have recently been awarded funding from the NIHR School for Social Care Research to explore the different types of extra care housing available to support people living with dementia.  As more and more people opt for extra care housing as a preference for their lifestyle choice, it is important that we know which models can best support the wellbeing of people living with dementia.  Alongside partners from Housing21, Worcestershire County CouncilThe Housing & Dementia Research Consortium and the HousingLIN, we are excited to be at the beginning of this 18-month project.  Findings from this research will be translated into accessible information booklets to support decisions by people living with dementia and their families, commissioners and health & social care practitioners.  The Project team will consist of Principal Investigators Dr Simon Evans and Teresa Atkinson and Research Associate Rebecca Oatley.  Please contact Teresa Atkinson if you would like further details (

Applications open for new Meeting Centres in Worcestershire and funding approved for the first three.

Organisations wanting to open a Meeting Centre in Worcestershire for those living with dementia are being encouraged to make an application for funding.

Funding for the first three Meeting Centres was approved at the first meeting of the Assessment Panel on 29 January 2021 - see further information here

Funding for a another new Meeting Centre in Evesham was approved at the second Assessment Panel - see further information here.

For more information go to this page.

Research Project to Explore How Meeting Centres Can Keep Going

Thursday, 18 March 2021

A new research project has been launched to help find ways to keep community centres for people living with dementia running in uncertain times.

For more information click here

News Archive 2020

Professor Dawn Brooker awarded an MBE

We have some lovely news to start the New Year. Professor Dawn Brooker was honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list with an MBE for services to those affected by dementia.  The press release in on our University website.

Dawn says

“I am so pleased to have been recognised in this way. It was totally unexpected, but I am very grateful to those who nominated me and particularly to my team at the Association for Dementia Studies who work so tirelessly to make the world a better place for those affected by dementia. Since the announcement on 31st  December, it’s been a huge roller-coaster of emotions reflecting on all of the family, friends and professional colleagues who have influenced me and supported me over the past 35 years. 2020 has been a dreadful year for people living with dementia, their families and the staff that support them which makes receiving this honour particularly poignant. All of you on this circulation list stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the work we do. Over this past year I have been blown away by the strength of the human spirit. People have refused to throw in the towel to say that personhood only matters when we happen to be infection free.  People have found ways of connecting, of working around, of keeping their spirits up and of advocating for those whose voices don’t get heard. What I can do is to listen and learn and to amplify these lessons as far and as wide as I can. The MBE gives what we are saying more amplification. Thank you “

News Archive 2019

Professor Dawn Brooker wins the Lifetime Achievement Award


THE AWARDS 2019 Contribution to the Local Community  category winner-email signature_A 600x10015

The Association for Dementia Studies team at the University of Worcester lifted the Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community at this year’s Times Higher Education Awards

 The University of Worcester lifted the Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community trophy at this year’s Times Higher Education Awards. These awards, now in their 15th year and widely referred to as the “Oscars of higher education”, shine a spotlight on the exceptional achievements of individuals, teams and institutions working in our sector today.

Establishing local meeting centres to support people with dementia, fighting off the potentially devastating closure of the centres once research funding ran out, and helping to take the programme nationwide earned us the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community. 

 Having been created as a research unit at Worcester 10 years ago, in 2014 the Association for Dementia Studies began work to set up two local meeting centres for people with dementia, offering them a place to talk to others, to get help that focuses on their needs, and to have fun.  

But 2017-18 was a crunch point for the project as research funding ended, bringing the prospect of closure for centres that users had come to see as a lifeline. Resolving to do all they could to keep the centres open, the Association for Dementia Studies team helped them to become charities so they could continue their work.  

The team also applied for funding to scale up the programme to national level, securing nearly £600,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund, which created a National Reference Group. There are now eight dementia meeting centres operating across the UK, with a further 20 expressions of interest. 

 The judges said Worcester’s meeting centres were “innovative, practical and the result of a genuine partnership between a research centre and local help points”, describing the Association for Dementia Studies team as a “truly dedicated group who stepped in decisively when funding was at risk”. 


 Top 10 at Ten for the Association for Dementia Studies

To read or download the Top 10 at Ten brochure please click here

To read more about this click here

News Archive 2018

Interested in participating in research? 

Join Dementia Research (JDR) is a website that helps people who would like to participate in dementia research to register that they are interested, so that researchers in universities and health and social care can contact them about research that they might be interested in. There is lots of information on the website to help you decide if you would like to do this. 

The website also contains lots of news about studies that are taking place as well as research findings. 

Are your environments dementia friendly? 

The King's Fund Environmental Assessment Tools - Care Home Assessment Tool, Housing Assessment Tool, Health Centre Assessment Tool, Hospital and Ward Assessment Tools 

The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) is pleased to let you know that the Environment Assessment Tools, which were developed by The King’s Fund, can now be downloaded from the Association for Dementia Studies webpages by following the link below. 

King's Fund environmental assessment tool 

 The pages include a brief summary of their development and how to use the assessment tool. You can also download the Alzheimer’s Society booklet based on the assessment tools which was designed to help people living at home with dementia make changes to their accommodation.  

If you would like to hold a workshop for your organisation or have an expert visit your premises to help you to conduct your assessments, please email 

Dementia 2020 Citizens’ Engagement Panel

The Department of Health for England is looking for people living with dementia and/or their carers to become members of this Panel during the next two years. Its aim is to inform the Government as to whether their plans for dementia care and support are making a difference to people’s lives.

In 2015 the 2020 Dementia Challenge stated its aim to make England the best place in the world to live well with dementia. The Government believes it is critical to gather the views of people who have received a diagnosis of dementia and their family carers and has asked Opinion Research Services (ORS), an independent research company, to recruit to the Dementia 2020 Citizen’s Engagement Panel. 

Members will be invited to respond to surveys and some will also take part in group discussions or interviews about their direct experiences of dementia services and support.

The RSAS is looking for dementia carers

The RSAS is creating a National Dementia Carers Centre and is in the process of designing and piloting some innovative residential programmes for carers. They need carers to help with some market research and then later in the year and during 2018/19 to attend their programmes. Each programme runs for three consecutive days ( 2 nights away from home). The programmes are free at this stage, so all accommodation and food is paid for in addition of course to the actual attendance at the programme. The Association for Dementia Studies will be collaborating to design a robust evaluation of the pilot programmes. 

Do you know of any individual carers or ready-formed carers groups who might be interested in helping with the market research and/or with piloting the programmes? If so, please contact Hazel May, Dementia Carers Services Lead for the Royal Surgical Aid Society.

How has the field of dementia care changed in the past 30 years?

In this article, Professor Dawn Brooker writes for us on the challenges and achievements of 30 years of dementia care. What has changed and what still remains to be done?

TAnDem PhD update 

TAnDem Doctoral Training Centre

We are pleased to report that Emma Broome, TAnDem Doctoral Training Centre student, has successfully completed her PhD viva, held on 26th March. Emma’s research explored the role of care staff in creative arts interventions in residential care homes, and involved working with artists and care homes in Nottingham who were taking part in the Baring Foundation-Arts Council funded Imagine Arts programme. The research has led to five published papers and Emma has presented her work at several conferences in the UK and in Europe. We wish to thank Emma’s examiners who were Dr Hannah Zeilig (University of the Arts London) and Dr Adam Gordon (University of Nottingham).  The examiners praised Emma for defending her thesis well and for her obvious engagement with and passion for her work. Emma has to complete some corrections to the thesis in the next three months and hopes to graduate in the summer.

Emma is the second student to pass her PhD Viva, Emily Cousins who passed her examination on 25th October 2018.

Major National Lottery grant awarded by the Big Lottery Fund

The Association for Dementia Studies has been awarded a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The project will run from 1st Sept 2018 to 31st August 2021. The aim is to help establish new Meeting Centres in different parts of the UK to work with their communities to support people and families directly affected by dementia.

This funding will enable us to build real capacity across the UK so that Meeting Centres can form a backbone of community-based active support to people and families across the country. By working together with early adopters in their communities and with national influencers, UK MCSP will attain the national visibility, momentum and traction to bring future generations of Meeting Centres on board.

ADS was a co-investigator on a successful research project, MEETING DEM, that took the learning from the Netherlands to set up Meeting Centres in the UK, Italy and Poland and to evaluate their impact. As part of the project two pilot demonstrator Meeting Centre sites were established in central England in semi-rural market towns. These have now established themselves as charities since the research funding ended in August 2017.

With this funding we have a unique opportunity to develop a sharing of the learning across early adopters of the Meeting Centre model in the UK from different regions and jurisdictions as well as from organisations of different types such as housing associations, faith groups and day centres who could be well placed to build Meeting Centres from their existing provision.

For more information please see the press release and this page

The Dementia 2020 Citizens’ Engagement: Making England the Best Place in the World for Dementia Care

Have you, or has somebody close to you, been diagnosed with dementia in the last few years? If so, we’d really like to hear from you! 

We are inviting people with a dementia diagnosis, or their main carer (either family or friend) to complete a short questionnaire about your experience of living with dementia. This is an important opportunity for you to share your experiences and maybe help shape and improve services in the future. 

This questionnaire asks you about your experiences of day-to-day care and independent living for the person with dementia and at the end, we will give you the opportunity to sign up to receive further questionnaires in the future.

If you would like to complete this questionnaire and help with this important study, please go online to You can also view previous reports and see what other people are saying about their experiences.

 If you would prefer to receive a questionnaire in the post, please give us a call and we would be happy to send you one or answer any questions you may have. Please contact Claire Thomas at ORS on 01792 535 337 or, or Daniel Morris at ORS on 01792 535324 or . 

This project has been commissioned by the Department of Health for England and the work is being carried out by Opinion Research Services (ORS), an independent organisation. 

Thank you for your help and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

News Archive 2017 

Hay Festival

Claire Garabedian and Laurence Gardiner - using the creative arts to help people with Dementia to live well - University of Worcester - Series 1 




News Archive 2016

Dr Claire Garabedian was a live guest on the popular BBC Radio 4 show, ‘Saturday Live’


Dr Claire Garabedian, Research Associate at the University of Worcester's Association for Dementia Studies was invited to London be BBC Radio 4 to be a live guest on the popular show, ‘Saturday Live’ to speak about her experience both as a music practitioner (including some live examples of her playing cello), as well as her research experience working with people who are living with dementia.

Claire, who is a professional cellist and research associate in creative arts and dementia at Worcester University, is a music practitioner and expert in the therapeutic value of the instrument. In the programme she has presenters Richard Coles and Aasmah Mir singing along to her rendition of “You are my sunshine,” a tune she has often used to good effect in care home settings. Talking about her PhD field research in Scotland she says: “Most of the people in the care homes I was playing for had never seen a cello – they called it the giant fiddle or the machine or all sorts of things. It reaches people because it’s got the sound most close to the human voice.” Therapeutic music helps people feel better and improves their wellbeing, Claire says, remembering an occasion when she played for a woman with dementia and her “detached and uninvolved” daughter. “When I started playing the live music she came to life and she started completely interacting with her mother in a way that they had probably not done for many decades. By the end I had stayed for an hour and a half when it was supposed to be 30 minutes – they were so carried away.”

The show aired on 13 August 2016. Pictures from the event can be viewed here.

Dr Garabedian is also a regular contact on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester addressing current issues regarding people who are living with dementia.

Background message from Prof. Dawn Brooker


I think that you may be aware that I have had a long-standing working relationship with colleagues in Japan engaged in person-centred dementia care. This has involved research and well as practice development. Over the years I have appreciated greatly the similarities and differences between our two countries and their approach to dementia care. It has helped me to reflect on the really key issues and to try to be clear in my writing about person centred care. For example, I think if I had never tried to explain Kitwood’s ideas about personhood to a Japanese audience then I would not have developed the VIPS framework.

One of my longstanding research collaborators has been a Professor of Gerontological Nursing at Hamamatsu University called Professor Mizue Suzuki. Like us, she is trying to develop person centred practice in the acute hospital environment and has developed a scale ‘Nursing Scale for Older Patients with Cognitive Impairments in the Acute Care Hospital’. They have undertaken a factor analysis and reliability and validity testing in Japan.

We have worked with them to translate the scale and we would like to pilot the translated version in the UK with the following aims:-

 1. To assess whether the translated version of the scale can be understood by English speaking health staff;

2. To collect data using the scale which can be compared to previous Japanese data to see if they produce similar results;

3. To explore whether the scale could be useful in the UK context.

Our team would therefore appreciate your time to complete the scale and provide feedback about it by answering the questions following the scale. We are particularly interested in the views of people with a healthcare qualification who have acute hospital experience in supporting people with dementia. The questionnaire is voluntary, and should only take around 15 minutes to complete. The survey is a one-off event and will not require any further involvement from yourself. Full details about ethics etc can be found on the survey.

Graduation 2016


The third of November 2016 proved to be a memorable day for the Association for Dementia Studies, with several members of the team, including Professor Dawn Brooker and Simon Evans, attending the graduation of the first students to complete the University of Worcester Foundation Degree in Dementia Studies.

Foundation Degree Graduation

Dr Sarah Milosevic was also awarded her PhD at the same graduation ceremony at Worcester Cathedral. It was so exciting to be witness to their academic achievements being rewarded in such magnificent surroundings.


2016 Hennell Award

April Dobson is Head of Dementia Innovation at The Abbeyfield Society, a national charity has been honoured with the prestigious Hennell Award for Innovation and Excellence in Dementia Care, created by June Hennell MBE in memory of her husband, Brian, a dementia activist who lived with the condition for four years before his death in 2013.


The Award is open to everyone who has attended a course facilitated by the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester and celebrates the achievements of an individual or team who have shown their ability to implement positive change for people living with dementia.





FITS (Focused Intervention Training and Support) programme - Advanced Practice in Delivering Person-Centred Dementia Care Module

Implementing the FITS into Practice (Focussed Intervention Training and Support) Programme in care homes and extra care housing for people with dementia, complex needs and distressed behaviour.

Worcester Researchers Explore ‘Namaste’ Care to Improve Care homes for People with Dementia

See further information here


News Archive 2015

New Dementia Service Officially Opened by Henry Sandon MBE Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Droitwich Spa’s new Meeting Centre project for people affected by dementia was officially launched by Henry Sandon MBE, of Antiques Roadshow fame, with a crowd of over 100 people in attendance. 

Pioneer of Dementia Meeting Centres Delivers UK Seminar Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A leading Professor in helping people to live well with dementia has delivered an engaging seminar as the UK’s first specialist Meeting Centre has been launched. 

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust's Dementia Lead Honoured with Award Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The nurse who is supporting a project to improve services for people with dementia within Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s dementia services has been honoured with a prestigious award, given in memory of a dementia activist. 

Researchers Explore the Use of Arts to Improve Dementia Care

Four researchers are embarking on a project to explore how creative arts such as music, dance and drama can improve dementia care.

‘The Arts and Dementia’ (TAnDem) doctoral training centre, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society and jointly hosted by the University of Worcester and the University of Nottingham, is supporting PhD students to investigate the impact of creative arts activities on the increasing numbers of people living with dementia.

Two students, Karen Gray and Amy Veale, are beginning their studies at Worcester and Emma Broome and Emily Cousins will carry out their research at Nottingham. All students will benefit from the wealth of expertise from both universities working together in partnership.

More information on the TAnDem project can be located here.

Stand By Me (Dementia) - Free e-learning course launched on 23rd April 2015.

A new online resource to improve communication and care for people living with dementia was launched at the University of Worcester on Thursday April 23. A copy of the press release is here and further information can be found here. 

Stand By Me, a free e-learning course, has been developed by the University’s Association for Dementia Studies, Skills for Health and key partners, with funding from the Department of Health, and is aimed at health and social care practitioners from all settings to help them deliver high quality, person-centred care to people living with dementia and their families.

Created with the help of experts from Worcestershire Health & Care NHS Trust, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Heart of Worcestershire College and Skills for Care, the new online course is based on a series of six short films reflecting a wide range of realistic situations, including visiting the GP surgery, supporting people at home in their own home, moving into a care home, being admitted to hospital, receiving paramedic services and end of life care. 

The scripts were developed from a series of focus groups involving health and social care staff and people living with dementia and their families. Most of the actors in the films are real-life health and social care staff from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, family carers and people living with dementia. 

A trailer for the e-learning course is available on YouTube

How to access this course 

If you have a NHS email address, please click here to register for an account. When selecting from the options under "Please select your region followed by your trust", choose NHSCLU to access the Stand By Me free e-learning course.

If you do not have a NHS email address, please email or call 0844 770 3770 to request an account. (lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm).

Enhancing the Healing Environment Programme

We are very pleased to be able to let you know that The King’s Fund and the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), University of Worcester have agreed to develop a collaborative partnership which will enable the dementia-friendly design work undertaken through the Enhancing the Healing Environment Programme to continue under the auspices of the University from January 2015. ADS will be integrating dementia design into its current research and education portfolio and will be continuing to develop the EHE dementia friendly environmental assessment tools. More information about Enhancing the Healing Environment Programme can be found on the King’s Fund website.

Admiral Nurses significantly improve dementia care support - Leading Care Provider publishes detailed project report on 6th March 2015

The role of Admiral Nurses in care homes has a significant impact on the care and support offered to care home residents living with a dementia according to a report published on 6th March 2015.


New Dementia Arts Research Hub Coming to Worcester and Nottingham - 5th February 2015

We are very proud to announce that our doctoral training centre is announced today by the Alzheimer’s Society – one of 8 in the country with a total spend of over £5million form the Alzheimer’s Society  to really make a difference in building research capacity in dementia cure and care in the UK.

Our joint centre will focus on studying The Arts and Dementia and will be known as TAnDEM. It is a partnership between the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester and the Centre for Dementia, University of Nottingham. Between 2015-2018 TAnDEM will support a number of full-time PhD students to investigate important aspects of the potential for creative arts to help people living with dementia. This will build research capacity and create new knowledge about the impact of arts-based activities and interventions for people living with dementia, their families, friends and professionals (artists and health and care). 

The lead at Worcester is Professor Dawn Brooker with other members of the supervisory team including Dr Simon Evans, Professor Elizabeth Peel, Professor Eleanor Bradley, Dr Karan Jutlla and Claire Garabedian. Professor Justine Schneider is the lead from Nottingham with Professor Tom Dening, Dr Victoria Tischler, Professor Amanda Griffiths also being part of the team there. We are so pleased to be working with Nottingham on this. There is real synergy between our two centres. 

The topic is an important one in dementia. Many families and people working in care know the enjoyment and sense of purpose that singing, music, dancing and creating art work can bring to people at all stages of dementia. As dementia progresses, more cognitive based pastimes can be a challenge but the creative abilities are always open to us. This research programme will enable us to have a concentrated focus to identify how we can use these creative drives for the most benefit to people living with dementia. We will investigate how we can use creativity to help people feel connected to others. In addition we can explore how to evaluate the therapeutic benefits of creativity. We will also explore whether there are particular activities that are more effective at different stages of dementia and the interplay with past preferences and lifestyle. Knowing the answers to these questions will have a benefit to people with dementia and their families. 


News Archive 2014


Members of ADS were scattered across the globe during November 2014

ADS staff attended conferences in Washington, Tokyo and New Delhi, while those still in Worcester prepared for the UK Dementia Congress which took place in Brighton on 10th-12th November.

Global Dementia Legacy Event Japan, 05-07 November 2014

As a follow on to the G8 Dementia Summit held in London in December 2013, our own Professor Dawn Brooker was invited to speak at the second legacy event held in Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan. The theme of this legacy event was Prevention and Care, and Professor Brooker spoke about the importance of skilled person-centred care. Professor Brooker’s book on person-centred care was translated into Japanese in 2012 and has been influential.

While at the Summit, Professor Brooker attended an evening reception where she talked with members of the Japanese Dementia Working Group (JDWG). This is the first group in Japan of people living with dementia who have formed into the equivalent of a UK DEEP group to raise awareness and decrease stigma about dementia in Japan.

The reception followed a speech at the Summit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who said that Japan will work out a new national strategy to boost measures for dealing with dementia, including working together to support the lives of people living with dementia. He also stated that this would include people with dementia being involved in the process of policy making, which Professor Brooker said she considered to be the first big achievement of the JDWG.

Training in Care Homes Reduces Prescription of Harmful Anti-psychotics to People with Dementia by a Third, 03 July 2014

An innovative training programme for care home staff has cut the use of inappropriate anti-psychotic drugs, which double the risk of death in people with dementia, by a third according to research commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society and launched today.

Media Portrayal of Dementia Could be Impacting Those Living with the Illness, says Professor of Psychology Wednesday, 02 July 2014

Representations of dementia in the media could be having a negative impact on those living with the illness, according to a leading psychologist.

University of Worcester to Pilot New Dementia Programme in Droitwich Spa, 27 June 2014

A Worcestershire town has been selected as the UK location to pilot a new project, implemented and evaluated by ADS in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society.

New Report Highlights Importance of Investing in Nurse Leaders to Improve Dementia Care, 20 May 2014

The Royal College of Nursing has published the results of a major year-long programme, which has seen nine NHS trusts develop innovative ways to improve dementia care in hospitals.

Happy Birthday ADS, 14 May 2014

ADS celebrated its 5th anniversary with an event at the University of Worcester Arena.