Let’s make Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly TOGETHER.

By Stephanie Craig

Registered Nurse and PhD student working with a team of researchers at QUB to learn the experiences of people living with dementia in a Dementia Friendly Community.

We all must work together to support people with dementia to make Northern Ireland a Dementia Friendly Community. A place where people with dementia can feel safe and supported.

As a second-year nursing student at Queen’s University Belfast I found my niche in dementia research through an Alzheimer’s Society student scholarship. This gave me an inside into research, I was hooked from the start. This naturally led me into wanting a career in research where I could help more people, this led me nicely into my PhD studies at QUB.

Stephanie Craig

Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia and over 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide spectrum of progressive neurological illnesses, with over 200 subcategories. This disorder can affect people’s capacity to retain and absorb information, which can disrupt numerous daily activities of living such as dressing, cooking, driving, shopping, and telling the time. This indicates to us that a person with dementia may require more assistance in daily tasks from family, friends, children, or members of the community.

Through my PhD study I am going to be looking at dementia friendly community’s or DFCs and the experiences people with dementia have in these settings. A DFC is a place where people with dementia are recognised, valued, and supported. These places are key in helping people with dementia to live well and stay active members of their communities. Dementia friendliness is a worldwide initiative aimed at supporting people to live well, it is an ethos to assist people with dementia in achieving their maximum possible quality of life, remaining empowered, understanding their rights, and realising their full potential.

This 3-year study which began in October 2021  will see us working with people living with dementia from various charity groups in Northern Ireland such as Dementia NI and The Alzheimer’s Society. Our plan is to identify the impact DFCs have on the day- to- day lives of people living with dementia, uncover characteristics of interventions that may support people living with dementia and explore the possible facilitators and barriers to DFCs’ long-term sustainability.

We want to create awareness and help people realise their role within the community to help support people with dementia.  This starts with reducing the stigma and creating awareness within the public. I was part of a team of researchers aimed at improving dementia care. We developed a Dementia Awareness Game for adults and a Dementia Kids Awareness Game as we believe this encourages adults and children to view dementia in a more positive way, with the hope of assisting people in living well with dementia in the community.

We think by creating awareness of Dementia within the public we can actively help contribute to making Northern Ireland a Dementia Friendly Community for those living with Dementia. Let’s create awareness together- play the games and tell us what you think!

If you would like further infomation pleaseemail Stephanie at: scraig22@qub.ac.uk

2 thoughts on “Let’s make Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly TOGETHER.

  1. Fantastic and very important research .So many of the changes are subtle and go undetected.Let’s hope the funding can be made available for those needing care and providing it in what ever capacity .Increase awareness is so so important

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