Age Watch

We’re a new not-for-profit organization, launched in 2011. • We aim to help adults across the UK enjoy better health throughout their lives. • We aim to achieve this by helping them make informed lifestyle choices based on medical and scientific evidence and free from advertising or commercial sponsorship. Changes in lifestyles and pensions mean future generations could face the prospect of many years of retirement in poor physical and financial health. Hence the importance of acting now, before it is too late.

Updated:
10 February 2016
Location:
National
Sectors:
Health, Membership Organisations

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

We are a not for profit organisation providing web based health information for adults  across the UK – people with dementia and their carers are important members of our target audience.

Our role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers includes:

Signposting to a range of services which can support aspects of daily living (through our Elder Care material). Providing information on developments in dementia research and care – where appropriate translating scientific findings into language ordinary people can understand. Focusing in particular on evidence regarding prevention and risk reduction through healthy lifestyles and on the value of cognitive stimulation in helping provide high quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. 

We have also helped secure funding for research into dementia, by working as a project partner with a number of universities on a successful proposal for Research Council funding. This will enable a 3 year research project, in the North East, the Midlands and North Wales, to explore the potential of the visual arts to help people with dementia to reconnect with their communities and their communities to become more dementia friendly.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Key challenges for us are:

Keeping up to date with developments regarding the prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment of dementia; of best practice in the care of people with dementia; and of initiatives to help create more supportive and enabling environments for people with dementia – so that we can ensure the information we provide is accurate, relevant and helpful.

As a provider of health information, how to ensure this information is accessible, in language and formats people with dementia and their carers can understand. Also to recognise that it often is not enough to provide information. We also need to consider how to increase the prospects of people acting on the information they receive – for example by drawing on lessons from health psychology, psychotherapy, behavioural economics, the study of influence and successful public health campaigns.

Member contacts

http://www.agewatch.org.uk/

2. Actions

  • Reducing the risk of dementia

    Explain what people can do to reduce the risk of dementia, or delay the onset of symptoms (as new research emerges – including any possible findings in relation to the ‘Cognitive Reserve’ hypothesis).

    Status:
    Implementation

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We have reported evidence that physical activity, educational achievement, a healthy diet and an active social life reduce the risk of Alzheimer's - while smoking, obesity and depression increase the risk. 

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    We have reported that low levels of Vitamin D appear to contribute to the risk of cognitive decline and dementia - based on evidence at a major Vitamin D conference organised by Queen Mary University of London.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    We have reviewed research evidence to identify whether vitamins and/or nutrients might have any protective effect against dementia and published our findings in October. 

    2013 - Second Quarter Update

    We are currently reviewing research evidence to identify if vitamins and/or nutrients might have any protective effect against dementia - and hope to publish our findings by early July.

  • Updating information on dementia

    Maintain and develop further the information we provide on resources available to help people with dementia and their carers.

    Status:
    Implementation

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We have continued to update the Eldercare section of the Age Watch website - including signposting users to the Dementia Gateway, Memoryappsfordementia and the MoneySavingExpert.com guide to Power of Attorney as potential resources.

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    We have provided information explaining how assistive technology can help people with dementia and their carers - and also information on therapeutic approaches (reminiscence, cognitive stimulation, validation and arts based therapies).

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    We have added additional resources to the information we provide to help people care for elderly relatives and partners, including people with dementia.

  • Helping break down negative stereotypes

    Help break down negative stereotypes of people with dementia, for instance, by publishing online examples of art work by people with dementia on the project website.

    Status:
    Implementation

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    The online Gallery on the 'Dementia and Imagination' website aims to showcase art work by people with dementia. We have recently added art work from project participants in North Wales as e.g. here: http://dementiaandimagination.org.uk/gallery/dementia-and-imagination-gallery-1/

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    We have created an initial gallery of art work by people with dementia, on the pilot website for the Dementia and Imagination Research Council project - and will add to this as the project progresses. The website is currently being trialled and will launch in early June.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    We have begun to collect examples of artwork by people with dementia, from the UK and Scandinavia, for publication on the 'Dementia and Imagination' Research Council project website, which is currently under development. 

  • Create a website for the Dementia and Imagination Research Council

    Develop a project website for the Dementia and Imagination Research Council project due to commence in July 2013.

    Status:
    Implementation

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We have continued to update and develop the 'Dementia and Imagination' website - including adding newsletters, blogs and project progress reports as e.g here: http://dementiaandimagination.org.uk/the-project/december-2014-update/

    2014 - Third Quarter Update

    We launched the project website.

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    We have commissioned and developed a pilot website for the project, which includes coverage of the following areas: Art and Dementia, Dementia Care and Dementia Friendly Communities - as well as explaining what the project will do and who the research team and partner organisations are. The website is scheduled to launch in early June.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    We have commissioned a web design company to start work on the project website, with a planned launch date of April 2014.

  • Improving quality of life through the creative arts

    Report on any findings as to how the creative arts can potentially contribute to quality of life for people with dementia and their carers (including any neurological explanations identified).

    Status:
    Implementation

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We have arranged to attend the RADIQL (Reminiscence Arts and Dementia Care: Impact on Quality of Life) seminar arranged by Age Exchange for January 2015 - and will report on the key findings on the Age Watch website.  

    2014 - Third Quarter Update

    We have added evidence for the creative arts contributing to quality of life for people with dementia to the 'Art and Dementia' section of the pilot 'Dementia and Imagination' Research Council website.

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    We have summarised evidence for the creative arts contributing to quality of life for people with dementia in the 'Art and Dementia' section of the pilot Dementia and Imagination Research Council website.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    We have drafted a review article, reporting on research findings in relation to Art in particular, and this will appear on the project website.

    2013 - Second Quarter Update

    Reported on 'Reawakening the Mind' an evaluation of Arts 4 Dementia's 2012 Arts interventions to re-energise and inspire people in the early stages of dementia and their carers -http://www.agewatch.org.uk/reawakening-the-mind/

  • The Dementia and Imagination Research Council project

    Lead on Knowledge Transfer for the Dementia and Imagination Research Council project, to seek to ensure the project’s findings influence policy and practice in health, social care, the arts and society.

    We have also helped secure funding for research into dementia, by working as a project partner with a number of universities on a successful proposal for Research Council funding. This will enable a 3 year research project, in the North East, the Midlands and North Wales, to explore the potential of the visual arts to help people with dementia to reconnect with their communities and their communities to become more dementia friendly.    

    Status:
    Implementation

    2014 - Fourth Quarter Update

    We are using the 'Dementia and Imagination' website as one means to keep stakeholders up to date with progress, alongside bi monthly newsletters to everyone who has expressed interest in the project.

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    At our suggestion a health economics element was added to the project, as this is likely to prove helpful when seeking to influence those commissioning health and social care. This will explore the social return on investment achieved.  

    The Research Council project has secured ethics approval, appointed artists and researchers and arranged local/regional partners. The art interventions for people with dementia are expected to start in care homes in the north east and for people living in the community in north Wales in June - and shortly after in an NHS assessment unit setting in Derbyshire.

    2014 - First Quarter Update

    We have drafted a Knowledge Transfer Strategy for the project and will be leading on implementation of the strategy in 2014.

    2013 - Second Quarter Update

    Currently working to strengthen the Project Advisory Group through new members with complementary experience and expertise, to encourage Knowledge Transfer and Exchange.