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Featuring on our newest Annual Conference guest blog is Dr Barbara Sharp, Alzheimer Scotland’s Policy and Practice Consultant. In the blog, Dr Sharp explores the topic of ‘Living well with dementia’ which is a much-used expression and provides insight into what practical information the Annual Conference clinics and workshops will offer to enhance the lives of people with dementia. 

‘Living well with dementia’ is a common expression today but the potential and opportunity for people with dementia to experience rich and fulfilling lives is a right still being fought and strived for by individuals every day. The nature of dementia brings with it a great deal of unpredictability and diversity in experience. People with dementia are often disadvantaged by generalisations made about what is a highly individual experience This can be unhelpful both in terms of denying strengths and possibilities and underestimating the complex challenges people can face. ‘Living well’ means different things to different people because our experiences, interests, relationships, passions, hopes and dreams are unique to each one of us – and dementia doesn’t change that.

There are however, shared aspects of our lives that are undeniably core to our wellbeing, such as caring for our physical, psychological, spiritual health and comfort. These are integral to our sense of identity and happiness, as are our connections with others; a sense of belonging, occupation and having control over our own lives. In recognition of what it takes to realise ‘living well with dementia’, both in terms of the aspects we share, and those that are unique to us, Alzheimer Scotland’s Annual Conference will present a range of opportunities to learn, share and explore how we can help ourselves and others to be as safe and well as possible.

There is a wealth of expertise across many different disciplines capable of making daily living that bit easier when lives are affected by dementia and enhancing levels of independence. A fantastic range of this expertise has been brought together to make this year’s conference one of the most relevant to date for people with dementia, families and carers. Clinics and workshops at this year’s conference, with its themes of ‘Prevent Now, Care Today, Cure Tomorrow’ have delegates with dementia, families and carers at the heart of their design and content.

Come along to our clinic sessions to discuss aspects of dementia which perhaps challenge your ability to live well or to explore how things might be better. Clinics will provide one-to-one support opportunities with experts in your chosen area of interest. Our ‘Living Well’ workshop brings together a larger group of presenters and delegates, providing an opportunity to spend time at a range of information stations where you can learn about caring for your sight and hearing; eating well; enhancing communication; keeping physically active, and ideas for practical help in many other areas of daily living. This will be an interactive session where you will be able to engage directly in activities and conversations where the focus is on practical, useful ‘top tips’ to consider on the day and take home.

The Living Well workshop will be hosted by Elaine Hunter, National Dementia Allied Health Professional Consultant and myself – we look forward to seeing you there.

For more information on the conference programme, click here

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