Each year, Dementia Awareness Week (DAW) is held with the aim of raising awareness of dementia and helping improve the lives of people with dementia, their families, and carers. Find out more about Dementia Awareness Week on the Alzheimer Scotland website.
In 2023, Dementia Awareness Week took place from 29 May- 4 June. Activities organised by Alzheimer Scotland included public information sessions in spaces across the country from shopping centres to leisure centres to hospitals. Supporters and volunteers also hosted their own Tea & Blether coffee mornings to raise awareness and vital funds to support people living with dementia and their families.
Active Voice Events
The Active Voice campaigning groups Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) and National Dementia Carers Action Network (NDCAN), who are groups made up of and led by people living with dementia and carers respectively, hosted a range of exciting events throughout Dementia Awareness Week 2023. A number of these events had a research focus, which align with the activity and priorities of the groups. SDWG and NDCAN maintain a keen interest in relevant research and many of their members are engaged in research, both as participants in studies and as co-producers. We were grateful to be invited along to some of these sessions find out more about this work.
On Thursday 1 June was a Tea & Blether afternoon with Prof Debbie Tolson and Dr Louise Ritchie from the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice (ASCPP) at the University of the West of Scotland. This was in part an opportunity to mark 10 years of the ASCPP, highlighting the many achievements, both in terms of academic success and the impact of the Centre’s research on people living with dementia and their families. There were also important discussions around research involvement between academic research teams and people with lived experience. The ASCPP, SDWG and NDCAN already work closely on various research projects, but it was great to get everyone together to talk about the different ways those with lived experience can continue to co-produce and meaningfully contribute to research activity.
On Friday 2 June, Prof Tara Spires Jones from the University of Edinburgh, as well as Alzheimer Scotland ambassador, visited the Brain Health and Dementia Resource Centre in Glasgow. This session was a fascinating education on neuroscience and dementia research. It was wonderful to hear more about the studies that have been conducted by Tara’s lab which use a novel and exciting form of analysis using brain tissue which was obtained from the Alzheimer Scotland Brain Tissue Bank. Following Tara’s presentation was an energetic and informative discussion about the future of dementia and brain health research among attendees.
In addition to the events organised by the Alzheimer Scotland Active Voice team, DAW 2023 saw Alzheimer Scotland formally announce the successful recipient of the Student Research Programme (although if you attended the SDRC Conference 2023, you’ll already know who the successful applicants were!).
The winning project is titled “Trauma and dementia diagnosis: An investigation of the potential for a trauma-formed pathway through the diagnosis of dementia, for people under 65 years old”, and will be supervised by Dr Anna Jack-Waugh, Senior Lecturer in dementia from the University of the West of Scotland.
Congratulations to the team. We are really looking forward to this project beginning later this year and will be sure to update all SDRC members throughout the project on its progress.
If you would like to know more about SDWG or NDCAN, or would like to get involved, click here.