The University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies will be marking its 10th anniversary with a special conference open to the public.
The Family Care Symposium takes place on Wednesday, June 12, at the University’s St John’s Campus, from 1pm to 4pm.
The free event will reflect on some of the team’s successes in the last decade and the progress made, but also detail current research that they are working on and look to the future.
Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of the Association for Dementia Studies, said: “The last 10 years have seen many changes for people living with dementia. People are being diagnosed earlier and living longer with the condition. We are proud to have been at the forefront of researching some of the ways that can really improve people’s quality of life. We now need to ensure that everyone has the right to the best treatment and advice no matter where they live.”
The Association for Dementia Studies has a national and international reputation as a centre of excellence in research and education in person-centred dementia care.
It is committed to raising awareness, challenging stigma and improving quality of life and wellbeing for people with the condition.
Talks on the day will include an overview of the team’s achievements, a talk on the meeting centres scheme and a PhD student will detail his research on the experience of people with dementia taking part in the sport in their community. Another talk will explore the interventions that help family carers of people with dementia and where more research needs to be done. The symposium concludes with a Dementia Friends Session to enable attendees to become an accredited Dementia Friend. Dementia Friends is a national scheme to make people or organisations across the country more aware and therefore more understanding of the challenges that those with dementia face.
The Association, which started out with a single member of staff, has grown to 20 educationalists, researchers and practitioners who are experts in the field of person-centred dementia care and support. It brings together a number of different areas of knowledge, including psychology, nursing, social work, gerontology, occupational therapy, policy analysis, medicine, primary care and psychiatry.
They work in partnership with health and social care providers, commissioners, charities, educational bodies and government agencies to research and develop care for people with dementia. Partners include NHS Worcestershire, Worcestershire County Council and national charities like the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK, Age UK, ExtraCare Charitable Trust, Dementia Carers Count, TiDE and Innovations in Dementia.
Since 2009, the Association has published well over 100 pieces of original research into dementia care, written and contributed to more than 40 books and presented their work at more than 450 conferences all over the world.
In recent years one of the team’s successes was working to bring about Meeting Centres in the UK. First developed in the Netherlands, Meeting Centres are social clubs where people with dementia can meet to have fun, socialise and get the support they need. The Association, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, completed research to learn about Meeting Centres and evaluate pilot projects in the UK, Italy and Poland. Two successful pilot projects were set up in the UK, one in Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire and another in Leominster in Herefordshire. Last year the Association secured a £587,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund towards its Meeting Centres Support Programme. The funding will support communities across the UK to establish Meeting Centres for people and families affected by dementia, with a target of 20 new Meeting Centres in the next three years.
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