Inaugural Liverpool Dementia and Ageing Research Event Heralded a Success

CLAHRC NWC researcher Clarissa Giebel hosted the Liverpool Dementia and Ageing Research Event at the University of Liverpool on Friday, bringing together academics, clinicians, support providers and people who are living with dementia themselves, in order to share their experiences and research surrounding the topic.

Clarissa said: ‘Today we’ve set up this event joining with the Institute of Population Health Sciences, CLAHRC North West Coast, and the local Clinical Research Network to bring people together, to network and set up new collaborations and it’s been a really great event. We’ve had a really big turn out and a lot of collaborations are now forging.’

As Dementia is set to become one of the biggest global health challenges of our generation, and with an estimated 50 million people currently living with the condition, it is important that spaces are opened up in which Dementia can be discussed, and people can come together to share how they are working to help the people living with Dementia, and those who care for them.

The event highlighted both the health inequalities that people living with dementia currently face, and the inspirational work that is being put into improving their quality of life. There was also a presentation given by Roy Foden, who has been living with Vascular Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia over the last five years. Roy described the fear and shame that he felt when he was first diagnosed, with his confusion increasing daily, he struggled to describe the severity of his condition to doctors and family. However, he has found that since being officially diagnosed, he has built an ‘army of lifelong friends who are all able to turn to each other for support’. Roy’s presentation highlighted the importance of being proactive after a dementia diagnosis, and finding spaces and activities to involve yourself in, a process which has helped him immensely. Follow this link to learn more about Roy and his story.

With Social Prescribing becoming a more widely regarded subject within health research, projects such as House of Memories were of particular interest to a well engaged audience, and the benefits of such projects demonstrated that there is much more to Dementia research than prevention of the condition, and people are actively working on ways to improve the quality of life of those living with the condition.

House of Memories is a museum-led Dementia awareness project offers training, access to resources, and museum-based activities to enable carers to provide person-centred care for people living with dementia. The programme offers those living with Dementia an app which holds all kinds of resources to help trigger memories, largely through photos and music.

The event also highlighted the importance of Social Prescription for those who care for people living with Dementia. Dr Aravind Komuravelli, Consultant Psychiatrist from North West Boroughs Healthcare Foundation Trust, told attendees that a third of carers experience depression, and when their mental health is improved, so is the level of care that they offer to the people they care for. Whilst sharing the details of a pilot project he’s currently working on, focusing on offering social prescription to carers, he said: ‘social prescribing can be used as an effective measure, not only to support the person with dementia, but also the carers. When carers are well supported, the person with dementia will benefit.’

The research event was a great place for those interested in researching Dementia to network and share their work, and throughout the day the room was buzzing with conversation, and connections being made. It will be followed up with a bi-monthly free public seminar series. The first of which will address the questions: Why is it that some people cope better with dementia than others? What can we learn from these people? How can we translate lived experience into policy practice?

The first seminar in the series will take place on Wednesday 13th November, 1 – 2pm in Seminar Room 1 of the Sherington Building.

More articles     Posted on: 06 September 2019