A world-leading initiative has renewed its commitment to supporting families with dementia.

Announced during Dementia Awareness Week, the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice (ASCPP) at University of the West of Scotland (UWS), a long-standing collaboration to tackle the global challenge of dementia, will continue after a third Strategic Partnership between UWS and Alzheimer Scotland was agreed.

Dementia impacts millions globally, affecting not only the individuals but also their families. ASCPP, a collaborative effort between UWS and Alzheimer Scotland, addresses this complex issue using applied research, education, and social enterprise.

ASCPP’s research prioritises real-world application, ensuring findings directly translate into improved care practices. This commitment to evidence-based solutions empowers families and healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to deliver person-centred care for dementia patients. The UWS Alzheimer Scotland Carers Academy is at the heart of this empowerment.

The Carers Academy is a programme designed for family members who are caring for a relative with dementia and aims to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to better care for their loved one.

This programme provides dementia caregivers with tailored training, practical advice, and emotional support. Through workshops, seminars, and peer-to-peer connections, the Academy empowers caregivers with the skills and knowledge they need to deal with these challenges.

For Joe Carson, the Carers Academy became a lifeline. He learned coping mechanisms for managing his wife’s condition and found solace in connecting with others facing similar challenges. The Academy fostered a sense of community and shared understanding, allowing him to feel less alone.

Joe’s wife, Susan, was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago.

Since then, Joe, has become her primary caregiver.

The emotional and logistical challenges they face are significant. However, Joe highlights the invaluable support the Academy has provided: “When someone in your family is diagnosed with something like dementia, you’re bombarded with questions from family and friends that you don’t really have the answers to. You can’t clarify how things are going to progress, you don’t even know what support is available for you locally, it’s a shock to the system.

“When I went to the Carer’s Academy, it was perfect! The Academy’s resources, particularly the caregiver support groups, were a lifeline for us. I learned coping mechanisms and connected with others facing similar challenges.

“For me, the programme has been transformative. Meeting other people that are going through the same situation and building that community has given us both a sense of control in a situation that can feel overwhelming. Understanding the disease better allows me to support Susan more effectively.”

The Carer’s Academy plays a huge role in equipping families with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the challenges of dementia. The Centre’s dedication to education empowers carers like Joe to become active participants in their loved one’s care journey.

The Centre also offers practical resources and facilitates connections with other healthcare professionals, ensuring families receive holistic support. This comprehensive approach has made a tangible difference for the Carson family. Joe feels more equipped to manage Susan’s care and can provide more effective support. The ASCPP has empowered them to face the challenges of dementia with greater confidence and resilience.

Underlining the importance of the continuing relationship with UWS, Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive, Henry Simmons, said: “We are delighted to continue our collaboration with UWS through the ASCPP. This renewed agreement represents a powerful testament to the impact we can achieve together.

“The ASCPP’s research and educational programmes are instrumental in improving dementia care – not only in Scotland but around the world.

“We look forward to continuing to work alongside UWS to build upon these successes and ensure a brighter future for families living with dementia.”

The signing of the new Strategic Partnership Agreement signifies a continued commitment to excellence in dementia care. Professor Debbie Tolson, Director of the Alzheimer’s Scotland Policy, and Practice Unit at UWS, said: “We are delighted to renew our partnership with Alzheimer Scotland and ensure that the concerns and priorities of people whose lives are affected by dementia are at the heart of all we do.

“The combined expertise of UWS and Alzheimer Scotland allows us to propel positive change through applied research and dementia education for all. The practical focus of the ASCPP Carer’s Academy helps family carers understand dementia related changes and appreciate how to look after themselves as well as their relative.”

By combining their expertise, UWS and Alzheimer Scotland, through the ASCPP, are making a significant difference in the lives of families affected by dementia and improving standards of care.

Headline photo: (Left to Right) Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive, Henry Simmons and UWS Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor James Miller
Photo Credit: UWS

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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