Date: Weds 17th May
Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Venue: The University of Salford
The Salford Institute for Dementia at the University of Salford will be proudly hosting the Alzheimer’s Research UK North West Public Engagement Event on the afternoon of the 17th May 2017 which falls within National Dementia Awareness Week. This event will be held in collaboration with The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Liverpool.
Through interaction with academic researchers and local dementia service/information providers the aim of this event is to help the public understand the bio-psych-social nature of dementia and local advances in dementia research, whilst learning more about local dementia support networks and initiatives.
Sam Calvert, who volunteered for the Salford Institute for Dementia, passed away at home on January 15th this year. Sam was a member of the Dementia Associates group with the Salford Institute for Dementia, husband and carer for Lesley, father to Jane and Andrew, and loved Grandfather of four.
Sam had been involved with the Institute from its early conception in 2014. Initially to support his wife Lesley, a retired Nurse living with young onset dementia, to educate students and staff about her experience of living with dementia. Sam gradually become more confident in this new environment which gave him a stronger voice as a carer and also as a guiding light to many people living with dementia in Salford.
The Salford Institute for Dementia at Salford University ran a Community Christmas Celebration on the 21st December 2016 at Humphrey Booth Resource Centre in Swinton. This was the third Christmas Event that the Institute has organised with funding from Humphrey Booth charities with the aim to help reduce isolation through Salford, especially at Christmas time . Fifty older people attended the Christmas party which included a choir, live music and a hot Christmas Dinner. One gentleman who attended the event with his wife, who has dementia, said about the day, “these events lift our mood and make us feel that we are not alone. “
At the Salford Institute for Dementia we have developed an important partnership with people who are living with dementia and carers of people who have dementia, our ‘Dementia Associates’. This partnership of Dementia Associates and the staff of the Salford Institute for Dementia means that people with dementia have the opportunity to be included in their local communities by contributing to research, engagement and education activities at their local university. Academics and researchers at the Salford Institute for Dementia have the opportunity of being informed throughout any dementia related project by a team of vibrant, motivated colleagues. The impact of the Dementia Associates work extends beyond their local community to have a national and international impact.
In June Dr Joy Watson and I delivered a dementia awareness session. The session was called an ‘Evening with Joy’ and was yet another example of the value of collaboration between the staff at the Salford Institute for Dementia and our Dementia Associates. Whilst I could have delivered the session by myself and inform those attending the session, I knew that Joy’s involvement would transform their understanding and perspectives. By the end of hour together the people attending the session ‘An evening with Joy’ knew why Joy had been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Salford for her dementia activism. I had been honoured to be the person who delivered the oration for her award:
The University of Salford has allocated a new space to be developed as the ‘home’ of the Salford Institute of Dementia. The assigned space is in the Allerton Building Block A. This gave an excellent opportunity to all who are involved with the Salford Institute of Dementia to get engaged to develop the space that will not only showcase the work that institute has been doing and it’s the future aspirations.
But above all will form a key place that could offer guidance and information to the community and to the people with dementia and their families. Therefore to ensure that the users concerns and needs are understood and considered and the final outcome reflects the users’ aspirations.
Reminiscence groups are a popular intervention and activity for people with dementia. Most research that is available focuses on the effectiveness of reminiscence for the person with dementia. A recent research study, the REMCARE trial (Woods et al 2016) aimed to investigate it slightly differently and conducted the ‘largest rigorous trial of any reminiscence intervention for people with dementia in the world literature and the first economic evaluation’ (p16) where the person with dementia and their family carer was jointly involved.
The Fondation Mederic Alzheimer is one of the leading organisations in France campaigning for those living with dementia; commissioning research and evaluation around innovative approaches to dementia practice; disseminating good practice and research innovations; and organising various events such as this event – the 3rd French conference on ‘Social Sciences for Dementia’ organised by Dr Fabrice Gzil, the programme manager for social sciences at the Fondation.
I was one of 6 international speakers invited to present on one area of work, Rural Dementia Care, that the Fondation has identified as key aspects of dementia in the future. The event was attended by around 250 French participants in an amazing 13th Century building in the Latin Quarter.
On the 22nd June, Dr Mark Wilding and I presented interim findings from the Salford BME Dementia Study at an event organised by Salford CVS (the project funders).
This study is timely since there is limited knowledge of the needs of people with dementia and care-givers from BME communities, and, due to migration patterns from the 1950s and 1960s, the UK – and Salford – is home to an ageing BME population.
The aim of the study is to increase awareness of dementia and dementia services in Salford for people from BME communities. Our findings so far –based on one to one interviews with service providers and community members – reflect much of what the (rather limited) literature suggests: service providers report challenges in including BME people in decisions about service provision in general, and people from BME communities seem reluctant to come forward to dementia services in particular; there seem to be very low levels of awareness of dementia among Salford’s BME population, and there is often a stigma surrounding the disease. On Saturday 16th July we will be holding focus groups with refugees from a range of different countries and also running a dementia awareness session at Pendleton library. We are grateful to Visible Outcomes for facilitating this important introduction. The study will finish in September and we will produce a final report with recommendations to increase service take-up in November.
I began my career as a system developer in 2007. I have a strong belief in co-design, as a method of creating responsive and engaging environments based on user preferences. In my view, public engagement is vital to research contributing to constructive change and improvement of services.
My passion for research started with the undergraduate dissertation project on web accessibility, during which I discovered the power of social media in engaging the public in research and shaping a more inclusive future. Working closely with Paula Ormandy, Professor in long-term conditions research, inspired me to apply social media and digital strategies to healthcare and look at the future of health information provision, engaging patients and the public in the process of sharing and consuming information.