Working together to make Wales a Dementia inclusive country
The Wales Dementia Conference was attended in total by over 200 people this included researchers, representatives from the health and social care sectors, charity workers and importantly people who live with Dementia and their carer’s.
This years All Wales Dementia Conference was supported the six North Wales Local Authorities, The North Wales Dementia Network, Social Care Wales, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol DEEP (The Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project) and the Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research.
The day was led by Beti George who opened the day and spoke of her own experience being a carer for her husband who lived with Dementia. Beti introduced a panel, which included members of the task and finish group working on developing the recently launched Wales Dementia Action Plan. The panel emphasised the importance of including those affected by dementia on developing and monitoring the implementation of policies in Wales.
Dr Gill Windle (DSDC, Bangor University) and Daisy Cole (Older Peoples Commissioner’s office) also emphasised the importance of ensuring that the action plan is implemented.
Daisy Cole said “While the Commissioner welcomes Welsh Government’s Dementia Action Plan, and the steps taken to ensure that the voices of people affected by dementia were heard.
“It is imperative that the Action Plan is able to drive the systematic and cultural change needed to improve the lives of people living with dementia, and that robust and meaningful evaluation is undertaken to hold Public Bodies to account for its delivery.”
The day also included a presentation to the emeritus Professor Bob Woods with an award for his dedication and contribution in Wales and internationally to support those affected by dementia before he gave a presentation about the findings of the European research into community based services for people living with dementia and their carers (ACTIFCare ).
Prof Sebastian Crutch (University College London) spoke about how understanding the variation in Dementia’s can help better support people affected by the different dementia types. Sandie Grieve (Social Care Wales) explained how the Dementia Learning and Development Framework aims to help health and social workers provide the best care to those living with Dementia.
Numerous workshops were available throughout the day that included exercises and walking on the promenade, using the arts in care homes, discussions on respite, intergenerational programmes and the latest in research findings that support people affected by dementia.
A panel made up of members of DEEP who live with Dementia reflected what has changed in the last 12 months and this was a powerful reminder that things do not always improve, and what are important issues to keep in mind. Chris Roberts (Honorary Lecturer at Bangor University) said “Everything has changed and yet nothing has changed” which seemed to resonate with some of the attendees.
The event ended with a panel of the Conference organisers and funders, including Dr Catrin Hedd Jones of the North Wales Dementia Network, Dr Gill Windle (DSDC), Chris Roberts and Teresa Davies who live with Dementia, Sandie Grieve and Ulla Webber- Jones (Social Workforce training officers).
The Wales Dementia Conference received positive reviews on social media and attendee’s feedback forms: Rupert Leslie,Occupational Therapist “Absolutely fantastic conference again. Powerful to hear peoples voices and stories.”
Emma Quaeck, Dementia Go, Gwynedd County Council said “With the challenges involved in working on a physical activity programme for people living with dementia and their care givers - the North Wales Dementia Network and this conference feels supportive - where we 'fit' in! Thank you for this!”