The number of people affected by dementia is growing rapidly and is projected to more than double within the next 30 years. This challenge has arisen against a backdrop of global economic and political uncertainty. In Scotland, the policy response has led to pioneering an internationally recognised rights-based approach to dementia, spurred by extensive campaigning and awareness-raising by the Scottish Dementia Working Group and DEEP Network (Dementia Empowerment and Engagement Project). Yet current research has underlined significant lag between policy and practice. People living with dementia (individuals with a diagnosis and those who care for them) still have limited say over services and their interests are overlooked at a broader community level. People with dementia report facing social, political, cultural and physical barriers to their community participation.
Consequently, this programme aims to serve as a catalyst for change, by seeking to address the challenge of translating rights-based policy into everyday practice. We will do this by piloting a series of dementia-accessible approaches to knowledge exchange and community development. The over-arching aim is to enable people living with dementia to influence change within their communities, with support from an interdisciplinary network of academics, researchers, practitioners and activists. Objectives over the course of a series of innovative knowledge exchange events include:
- Bringing together national and international expertise to construct a framework for culture change, co-produced with people living with dementia.
- Piloting a series of dementia-accessible mechanisms for knowledge exchange and public engagement led by people living with dementia, and reporting on the outcomes.
- Forging a network of knowledge partnerships to foster evidence-informed community-development as a lasting impact of the programme.
- Producing a record of each piloted method for public engagement with supporting guidance on its strengths and limitations, thus promoting dementia-accessible engagement at a wider level.