To provide dementia-awareness training to Age Scotland staff at all levels, current and new, and to volunteers in order to make Age Scotland’s services and workforce dementia friendly; and to extend this dementia training programme to Age Scotland member groups and others.
The main aims of this work will be:
- to review the Silver Line Scotland helpline to ensure it is accessible to people with dementia
- to train Information and Advice staff to provide a dementia friendly service
- to review all Age Scotland materials to make them dementia friendly
- to produce new written resources and a dementia-focused version of the ‘Age Maze’ guidance booklet
- to develop and deliver a range of early stage dementia awareness presentations to Age Scotland member groups and others to promote early diagnosis, involving people with dementia and carers in their design
Older age is still the greatest risk factor for dementia, therefore any charity that works with older people will want to conduct work about dementia.
Why is early diagnosis important?
While Scotland’s diagnosis rates compare well across the UK and internationally, around a third of people with dementia in Scotland have not been diagnosed. Barriers to diagnosis remain for many people with dementia, including stigma around the condition and anxiety about what the process of diagnosis will involve.
The Scottish Government is committed to providing everyone who receives a diagnosis with a year of support from a link worker.
So that more people with dementia can get help earlier, it is important people are aware of the signs and symptoms of dementia and how they should go about getting a diagnosis. If someone is concerned about their memory this does not necessarily mean they have dementia. They may have what is called Mild Cognitive Impairment which can be can be stopped or reversed – reinforcing the need to get a diagnosis.
Age Scotland want more people who are concerned about their memory or worried that they may have dementia to seek a diagnosis sooner, because once someone has a diagnosis they will receive support in managing the condition and can make plans to help them live well with dementia in the future.
With over 1000 member groups across Scotland, Age Scotland are uniquely placed to engage with older people, to promote early diagnosis.
Age Scotland was given funding to work on policy issues around early stage dementia, for example, timely diagnosis and post-diagnostic support. With this funding, they aim to raise the issue of dementia across their campaigns and highlight the need to challenge barriers to support, through training, awareness raising and providing information and advice.
Age Scotland have also become dementia-friendly as an organisation, providing all staff with dementia training and making their publications and Silverline helpline more accessible to people with dementia so that they can benefit from the wide range of helpful resources Age Scotland has to offer.
Age Scotland has a membership of more than a quarter of a million older people and is well established across Scotland. They are able to reach older people with information on how to spot dementia and secure a timely diagnosis, as well as provide information to carers who may need support if they suspect a family member, partner or friend has dementia.
The dementia training course devised by Age Scotland has proved so popular that there has been demand for it from the private sector, so a course has been tailored for the private sector and is being delivered on a 'train the trainer' basis. Age Scotland is doing an enormous amount of work to raise early awareness of dementia, highlighting factors that could reduce the risk of some types of dementia and ensuring that policy on diagnosis and post-diagnostic support is robust and effective.
Their existing information and advice resources are being made dementia friendly and they have created additional resources that are dementia specific. More generally, the charity has taken up dementia as a key area for policy and influencing work and has incorporated a dementia ‘strand’ into the other policy areas it works on.
Age Scotland worked with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) to raise awareness of dementia in the workplace. A guide for trade union workplace representatives was produced to enable trade union reps and others to know the signs and symptoms of dementia and be able to support colleagues who have to cope with receiving a diagnosis and the impact it has on their employment.
Age Scotland organised a joint event with the STUC in September 2016, where workplace representatives heard from people with dementia about the impact it has on their working life. The event was very well attended and all of the unions demonstrated a commitment to working together to ensure that employers are aware of the issues in the workplace for people with dementia and for those who care for them, and how to support people with dementia.
In developing its early awareness and risk reduction work, Age Scotland has also produced resources with Ash Scotland (smoking) and Drink Wise Age Well (alcohol).
To evaluate Age Scotland’s dementia aware programme of workshops (2015-2018), Impact Generation was appointed in May 2016 to conduct an evaluation for up to two years.
Age Scotland’s dementia awareness programme supports employers, volunteers, carers and individuals in workplaces as well as older people who attend Age Scotland’s Member Groups (rural and urban) to increase their awareness levels about early-stage dementia so as they might better interact and/or support them in future.
This report details the evaluation findings collected from August 2016 to April 2018 about the training interventions in this programme. It includes an annex that features findings of the face to face surveys undertaken with Trade Union representatives, an one entitled Post-evaluation Survey Results for Employer/Workforce Training. Download the report here.
Age Scotland Guides
If someone receives a dementia diagnosis they and their family will have questions, including about what support they will receive.
Age Scotland's Early Stage Dementia Project team have produced a range of guides to help you. The following are just some of the Age Scotland resources on offer. You can find even more on their website. Just click on each image to download the guide.
Outcomes we'd like to see
- Age Scotland services are dementia friendly
- raised public early awareness of dementia symptoms
- raised awareness of reducing risk of certain types of dementia
- input into policy development
Read more on the Age Scotland website.