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Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in Lanarkshire

carol paintingOn Wednesday l2th May 2021, the Life Changes Trust held an online conference: ‘Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in Lanarkshire’.

This was the ninth in our ‘Creating Better Lives’ series of conferences, which are held across the country.

The conference had two exceptional co-chairs: Annette Barlass who was an unpaid carer for her father who had dementia; and Rev. Helen Jamieson, from St Andrew's Church, Carluke. St Andrew's provides support to people living with dementia and unpaid carers in Carluke and beyond.

They were joined in chairing duties by Margaret Brown, from the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy & Practice, who took us though our Q&A panel session. 

To deliver this online conference, the Life Changes Trust worked in partnership with individuals and organisations from across Lanarkshire to design an event that reflected on and celebrated what was happening locally to support people living with dementia and their families. By doing this the Trust learned from them what was important in their local area.

For instance, where are the gaps in services and provision, what have been the struggles during the COVID pandemic and what has worked well, and what people living in Lanarkshire say is most important to them?

Like all of our regional ‘Creating Better Lives’ conferences, this event was designed to help support local areas – and all of us – to think more deeply about how communities can uphold the human rights of people with dementia and unpaid carers. 

At this conference, we heard:

  • How ‘storytelling’ works to support people living with dementia and unpaid carers have their voices and reflections heard – what matters to them in their journey with dementia
  • What unpaid carers of people with dementia and those who support people with dementia and unpaid carers in Lanarkshire say are THEIR priorities in their own communities. These priorities emerged through a number of ‘storytelling’ sessions that the Trust ran in the lead up to the conference*
  • Local projects and individuals from across Lanarkshire highlighting the work they continue to deliver and the support they continue to provide during COVID 19. 

The learning from our storytelling sessions are written into a report and distilled to common themes. These themes shape some of the discussion at the final conferences, so that the priorities of people with dementia and unpaid carers drive conversations and considerations on the day.

 *The Lanarkshire storytelling sessions involved those who support people with dementia/unpaid carers, and unpaid carers themselves, and what they told us is reflected in the local priorities. In this instance, the sessions for people living with dementia did not go ahead, despite a number of them being organised. Individuals may have felt they were perhaps not ready to take part at this time.

You can download the Lanarkshire Storytelling Report here

Highlights from the webinar also included hearing from Brenda, Caroline and Louise from the Haven, which is a charity helping families, carers and those with life limiting illnesses face the future together.  The Haven provides support to many families across Lanarkshire, including those who are dealing with dementia.  They offer help so that people living with dementia can live in their own home, and in their own community, for as long as possible. They provide many different services, to fit the needs of individuals.

We also heard from Anna Clements, who is a dementia advisor for Alzheimer Scotland. She spoke with Ian and Eugene, both of who care for their wives who are living with dementia, and who talked about the importance of peer support and being able to talk to other people who have shared their journey.

And we heard from St Andrew’s Church in Carluke.  They have been working with people living with dementia and their families since well before the pandemic, and have continued to provide support and connection throughout COVID – in Carluke and beyond. Helen Jamieson, who is the minister of St Andrew’s Church in Carluke, was joined by Alice and Jessie, both of whom cared for their husbands who had dementia, and by Carol Topper, who has a diagnosis of dementia, and her husband Malcolm.

After the conference, the Life Changes Trust put together a summary/evaluation report which includes a brief summary of the event, the identified local priorities, discussion points during the Q&A sessions about the local priorities and how local projects are being supported to deliver, and the key messages that people felt were important to influence change going forward.

You can download the 'Creating Better Lives in Lanarkshire' Summary and Evaluation Report here

You can watch a recording of our full webinar, or you can just watch some of the presentations, below, whatever works for you.  

Watch a recording of the full webinar below

You can watch Dan Serridge, from the Village Storytelling Centre, presenting on what people in Lanarkshire said were THEIR priorities in their own communities, below

You can watch Brenda, Caroline and Louise from the Haven talk about their work in Lanarkshire, below

You can watch Anna Clements from Alzheimer Scotland chat to Ian and Eugene about the importance of peer support, below

You can watch Rev. Helen Jamieson from St Andrew's Church, Carluke, talking to Alice and Jessie, and Carol and Malcolm, below

You can watch the Q&A session, below

Arlene Crockett from the Life Changes Trust talked about the Trust’s small grants programme in Lanarkshire and next steps for creating better lives.  Watch it below

The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Annette Barlass, Helen Jamieson, Margaret Brown, Dan Serridge, Anna Clements, Ian and Eugene, Brenda, Caroline and Louise from the Haven, Alice, Jessie, Carol and Malcolm and our panel, Agnes Hadden, Maria Williamson and Laura Jamieson.  We would also like to thank Carol Topper who produced the beautiful artwork which is the banner on this page.