University of Stirling project to create dementia-friendly communities

dementia-app-usersA three-year project involving the University of Stirling and local partners to boost communities for people living with dementia has received major backing from the Life Changes Trust.

The £225,000 grant will fund a range of initiatives to empower people with dementia to create collaborative neighbourhood communities which help them remain socially, physically, culturally and politically active.

The wide ranging partnership includes Artlink Central, the Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling Council and NHS Forth Valley and follows research findings from the University which indicated that neighbourhoods play a crucial role in supporting people with dementia to remain active and independent.

Dr Richard Ward, senior lecturer in Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling, said: “Research shows that the neighbourhood is particularly significant to people with dementia and their carers because, following diagnosis, they spend a growing amount of time in the local environment.

“The funding for this project will allow us to show how place attachment, local connections and a shared sense of belonging can support the wellbeing, health and citizenship of people living with dementia in the local community.

“We’re delighted to begin rolling this out in the Forth Valley region and are grateful to the Life Changes Trust and our other partners for their continued support.”

The project will look at online accessibility for people with dementia and assess whether the local environment is dementia-friendly.

People with dementia will lead on developing their communities and, with the project’s support, make decisions about which activities to pursue, based on what works for them.

Anna Buchanan, director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme, said: “Ensuring that people with dementia and their families remain included in their communities, and in society more generally, should be the new ‘norm’. People should not become isolated and lonely because they have been diagnosed with dementia, and yet this is often the case. We are delighted to fund this work and hope that in time it will inspire many other communities to become dementia inclusive.”

Artlink Central will also look to develop arts activities as part of the project and researchers will work with the Macrobert Arts Centre to host a Neighbourhood Festival.

In the first two years, the project will be piloted in neighbourhoods in Stirling North, before being extended across the Forth Valley region in the third year.

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