Dementia - a fabulous new resource


A personal reflection, and a fantastic new resource which challenges how we view Dementia...


Seven years ago when I joined AVA, we were asked by the Manager to attend an Alzheimers' UK Dementia Awareness session. To be honest, I groaned inwardly. I was new in post, and was expected to 'hit the ground running'. At the time I had no personal experience of Dementia and it all felt a little irrelevent, and a lot scary, so I attended rather reluctantly.


This one hour session transformed my life and totally changed my outlook. For the first time ever, I gained a glimmer of understanding on the challenges faced by someone living with Dementia. It wasn't that I didn't care before; I just didn't know. The session was a 'lightbulb' moment and I realised that not only was reducing the stigma around Dementia absolutely critical, it was a goal we all should work together to achieve. 




In 2020, my late Mother-in-Law was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia. Despite her increasing years, she had a good quality of life; she had always been sociable and had a lively and engaging personality. She had zero tact; was notorious for speaking her mind, and had a zest for life with a real twinkle in her eye.


Through COVID she had to isolate and this had a really big impact on her health. Because she wasn't getting out and about and not seeing the wider family, her health and wellbeing took a real downturn. As we started to come out of isolation and could socialise again, family members rallied round. We spent time with her, took her on trips out; all of which she really enjoyed.


Sadly, her health continued to decline. After a lengthy stay in hospital and brief return home, it became apparent that she would need additional care and she moved into a nursing home. The family pulled together and visited her.


On a personal level, I appreciated the importance of our visits because of my improved understanding of Dementia. Following on from the Alzheimers UK information session, I had become a Dementia Champion and also undertook a Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Dementia Care. This helped me to have a better understanding of the positive benefit when interacting with someone living with Dementia. Other family members had experience of working in Care, and so we all made sure she had regular visitors. Sadly, her health continued to decline, and she passed away in May this year. Despite this, I feel that the family's collective knowledge and understanding meant that we all pulled together and did our best to try to ensure that she continued to feel safe and loved. 




As an infrastructure charity, supporting local voluntary and community groups, we are often sent information and resources to circulate amongst the wider community.


As a charity with a passionate interest in Dementia, resources and information on this subject catch our attention.


Recently, we were sent a summary of a PHD, which challenges and encourages people to reflect on how they think about Dementia. Whilst this is an academic paper; it is a really interesting read for anyone who works to support people living with Dementia. Being a summary document, it is pretty much to the point and makes reasonably accessible reading. If you work with people living with Dementia, or support the organisations that do, then it is an invaluable read. Not only does this encourage people to reflect on inclusive communication, it also offers practical recommendations on communicating with and about this community of need. Please click on the image above or click HERE to dowload the document.


Portrayal of older people in society


The document then closes with practical resources, including a FREE database of photos of older people from the Centre for Ageing Better. Click HERE to go to the Database. Additionally, the document lists resources providing information, practical tips and advice for people living with Dementia. 


We would like to thank Dr Emma Putland for agreeing to allow us to share the Executive Summary of her PHD - Representing Dementia: Insights from People Affected by Dementia.



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