IMG_0047It was a busy day on 20 March 2015 at the Spring update quarterly meeting of Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) members held at the College of Occupational Therapists in London.

As a new member, ‘Join dementia research’ reports on some of the highlights from the meeting:

Dementia and risk reduction

The first session came from Public Health England (PHE), represented by Charles Alessi, Lily
Makurah and Elaine Greenway. This session covered how lifestyle can reduce the chances of dementia but not completely. PHE logo

They also spoke about the Blackfriars Consensus  that looks at risk factors of dementia (e.g. Cognitive reserve, Cognitive stimulation, Prompt treatment of infection, Social isolation and Depression).

PHE also highlighted the Draft National Institute For Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline: Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to prevention and the NICE guidelines – Dementia: Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care.

NICE includes:

Being active reduces risk of the developing of dementia

The role of talking therapy and the need for increased access to psycho-therapy

The role of social support and reducing social isolation

Where dementia and depression co-exist to look at the environment e.g. reducing the amount of unwanted stimuli

Within the NICE guidelines there is also a section ‘for people with dementia with depression and/or anxiety’. These focus on psychological and pharmacological inventions.

The need for more psychological support than pharmacological offerings was a key point made through the first session.

Community Engagement: So what next?

in the next session, Alzheimer’s Society’s Nikki Crowther revealed there are now 82 cities, towns and villages signed up to the recognition process of Dementia Friendly communities, and that there are now 141 local Dementia Action Alliances (DAA). So what next…?

They aim to:

Reach 3 million Dementia Friends

Have half the population living in Dementia Friendly communities

Look for Local DAAs to have real action

Bring pieces of the jigsaw together in pushing these initiatives forward

Community Occupational TherapyDementia Action Alliance

Zoe Harvey-Lee, an Occupational Therapist, spoke about ‘What keeps a person happy and healthy?’

She gave examples of good practice and bad practice of organisations when dealing with people with dementia and suggested organisations see the person, not the label.

Dementia Words Matter, Call to Action on Language

Keith Oliver Dementia Action AllianceThe afternoon session continued with a look at the language used around dementia.

The Power of Words video by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation was shown as an effective tool in considering the words used associated with dementia.

There was mention of the press negatively using words surrounded with dementia, but that there is change happening.

This was an interactive session where people living with dementia were interviewed up to talk about dementia words. This included discussion about the power of words, that words are important and words matter.

There was a call to action in regard to words an organisation use about dementia:photo (3)


An example of ‘Challenge’ was when Keith Oliver was interviewed for a newspaper article and initially the Press were going to use the word ‘sufferer’ in the headline, but he challenged it, and the headline was changed.

Closing remarks

The Chair, Heather Gilling, closed the meeting with remarks that “people with dementia are at the heart of what we do, and through DAA we are in a position to instigate change.”