Treasuring our memories: UWE and Alzheimer's Society's week of Dementia Awareness activities

Issue date: 02 December 2013

The University of the West of England and Alzheimer's Society in Bristol are working together to run a week raising awareness of dementia beginning Monday 9 December.

A number of events will be taking place across UWE campuses, including a half-day conference on 9 December, a Memory café and a theatre production of the play 'Grandma Remember Me'.

The week raising awareness of dementia is being co-organised by UWE mental health researcher and expert in dementia Professor Richard Cheston.

Richard said, “Dementia is an awful illness, and one about which society is becoming more and more aware. What we hope to do is to help students and staff at UWE to know more not only about the illness, but also about the research that we are doing, and the efforts that are being made locally to help improve people's quality of life.

“Memory cafés, for instance, give people affected by dementia and their families the opportunity to socialise with others in similar situations and receive vital support. They're also a great source of information and guidance which can help people to live well with the condition.”

Alzheimer's Society Services Manager Paula Shears said, “We are delighted to be involved in this week of events to bring the issues that affect people with dementia to UWE. It is also important for people to know about what support is available to them in their local area.”

The half-day conference on Monday 9 December focuses on the partnership between academics at the University and the public. Alzheimer's Society's research and engagement manager Matt Murray will give the keynote presentation about his work which is to ensure that every aspect of research supported by the Alzheimer's Society is informed and improved by people's lived experiences of dementia.

The conference will also feature presentations by individuals affected by dementia and by UWE researchers who will describe how working with people affected by dementia has enabled them to develop their research.

On Wednesday 11 December students will see performances of 'Grandma Remember Me,' a play focusing on the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. The play explores the importance of memories and relationships within our lives and how to keep and treasure them.

The Memory Café on Thursday 12 December will be an ideal opportunity for staff and students who have a personal or professional interest in dementia to learn more about the illness within a casual and social environment. There will be a presentation about the use of music in dementia care, as well as a taster session of Singing for the Brain®.

As well as Memory Cafés, Alzheimer's Society in Bristol runs a number of services including Singing for the Brain® and carers support groups.

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