Following our international event in June 2014, this event had a Scottish focus. It took place over two days: the first at the headquarters of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute in central Glasgow; and the second in the town of Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire. 45 delegates joined us from across Scotland, including public and third sector participants, researchers and people whose lives were affected by dementia. A further 25 participants came along to a networking evening event to hear a joint presentation from Dr Ann Heylighen (KU Leuven) and Dr Lynne Mitchell (WISE).
After a brief introduction to the MFN programme, Day One (Thursday 11th September) was opened by Jim Pearson of Alzheimer Scotland.
Our keynote presentation was by Anna Buchanan, talking about her work as Programme Director for People Affected by Dementia at the Life Changes Trust.
We had four Community Development Briefings on the day, highlighting what programmes are already underway to make our neighbourhoods more memory-friendly. Our speakers were:
Sandra Shafii from the Motherwell Town Centre Dementia Friendly Community programme
Shirley Law from the Dementia Services Development Centre and Dementia-Friendly Stirling
Ann Pascoe from Dementia Friendly Communities in East Sutherland
Julie Christie, Partnership Lead for Dementia in East Dunbartonshire
We explored, with Catharine Ward Thompson, how we might build better connections between research and practice.
We also heard from Henry Rankin, Chair of the Scottish Dementia Working Group, and Sarah Keyes of the University of Edinburgh, who together talked us through the principles for doing research with people with dementia.
On Day Two (Friday 12th September), we worked with a live site scenario, testing if collaborative mapping activities with older people could help make new developments more supportive of people with dementia. Our fieldwork took place in Kirkintilloch, a town on the outskirts of Glasgow which has recently undergone both waterside and town centre regeneration. 20 delegates attended, joined by ten older people from the local area, seven of whom had dementia, along with carers, housing association staff and representatives from a number of departments within East Dunbartonshire Council (including social work and planning). Councillor Michael O’Donnell, Convener of the Council’s Social Work Committee, said:
“The Council and its partners in the Dementia Network offer fantastic support for people with dementia in our area and this event allowed us to showcase some of the local assets and support that’s offered all year round through East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network.
However, we are not complacent and the feedback provided by participants will give us a useful insight into what still needs to be done and help shape future work in this area.
People who have dementia and their families are often subject to stigma and experience isolation and depression. Dementia friendly means improving opportunities for inclusion through awareness and dementia sensitive environments. This in turn will ensure that people with dementia enjoy the same quality of life as other East Dunbartonshire residents despite the challenges they experience.
Dementia inclusive communities support and promote the capabilities of the person with dementia at home, or in homely settings, as they move from self-managing the illness with support to needing more intensive support.”