Scotland’s Dementia Awards #SDA17


On the 21st September we celebrated the sixth Scotland’s Dementia Awards. These awards celebrate and recognise projects and teams who demonstrate innovation, creativity and best practice in the support of people with dementia and those who care for them. The awards are a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council. 

WINNER: Best Acute Care InitiativeImproving the journey for people with dementia in the acute hospital setting – a collaborative approach. NHS Forth Valley


This NHS Forth Valley project aimed to improve the acute hospital journey for people with dementia by reducing the number of late and/or multiple transfers a person experienced. It involved collaboration across various specialities, with all teams working towards a shared goal. Through this way of working the team have managed to significantly increase the number of people with dementia transferred before 8pm (from 52% to 92%) and reduce multiple moves from 33% to less than 2%. As a result, they have evidence of improved patient, carer and staff experiences with regards to this area of care.”

WINNER: Best Innovation in Continuing Care GAME. NHS Ayrshire & Arran with ‘Onside Ayrshire’ Community Resource


“In relation to hospital care for older people, person-centred care, quality of life, compassion, dignity, respect and maintaining independence are vital. In ward 3 at Woodland View, we recognised there was a variation in our approach to supporting person-centred care in assessing… and planning meaningful activity. Our improvement project focussed on working with families, carers and patients, with the aim of improving quality of life and meaningful outcomes for people with dementia using the Pool Activity Level (PAL). The project team developed a bundle approach to support effective implementation of the 5 key elements of the PAL instrument; personal history, assessment, identification of activity level, activity plan, and review of the plan.”

WINNER: Best Community Support InitiativeBoogie At The Bar. The Active Aberdeen Partnership, The Foundry, Aberdeen Health & Social Care Partnership, Alzheimer Scotland and M&S Bank.


“Boogie at the Bar is a dementia-friendly afternoon disco at The Foundry pub in Aberdeen. It started after a conversation between Anne Duncan, whose husband Bill was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 and Paula Bisset, Development Officer with Sport Aberdeen. Anne and Bill love to dance, but they didn’t want a tea dance – they wanted to go to a disco!

“Anne then met with Sport Aberdeen, The Wellbeing Team (Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership), Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust and Alzheimer Scotland. AFCCT suggested The Foundry and Alzheimer Scotland involved the local Branch of Marks & Spencer Bank (who provide the food). Boogie at the Bar is a chance for people with dementia, carers and relations to come together, enjoy a drink and dance with old and new friends. The dance floor is never empty!”

WINNER: Best Dementia Friendly Community InitiativeRelaxed Checkout. Alzheimer Scotland and Tesco Forres


“The Relaxed Checkout began with Tesco Forres staff finding out more about dementia by becoming Dementia Friends. It was designed to be inclusive for anyone who might need more time. This initiative has captured the attention of the media and has resulted in global approval, with media coverage in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. The BBC Facebook post has been viewed over 11 million times. The idea has already been replicated in supermarkets in Lockerbie, Annan and Barnstaple, as well as supermarkets in America.”

WINNER: Most Innovative PartnershipDementia Awareness Within HMP Shotts. Alzheimer Scotland and HMP Shotts.


“Prisoners have a higher rate than the general population of several dementia risk factors, including head injury, smoking, drug and alcohol misuse, and low educational attainment. However, there has been very little research into dementia in prison; we do not know how many people are… living with dementia in prison and we know very little about the experience of living with dementia in prison from the perspective of the person, their visiting family and friends, or staff. Over the last 18 months, this project between HMP Shotts and Alzheimer Scotland engaged 202 prisoners and 55 staff in dementia awareness and information sessions and 40+ family/ friends within the visitors’ centre.”

LIfetime Achievement Award: Henry Rankin


Former Committee Member and former Chair of the Scottish Dementia Working Group. Longstanding dementia campaigner. Find out more about Henry – Living and Learning with Dementia.

The Sunday Post digital team came along to the event and filmed some great short videos with the winners. Meet the winners from Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2017  Watch them here.


Connecting people, connecting support – Executive summary


Last week we launched a new AHP policy document, Connecting people, connecting support to help improve the lives of people with dementia and those caring for them. It was developed through collaborative working with the Scottish Government, the allied health professional community and the experiences of people living with dementia, and is one of the key commitments outlined in Scotland’s third national dementia strategy (2017-2020) and is one of the six identified national priorities of the Active and Independent Living Programme (ALIP). In this week’s blog we are sharing the executive summary although a  copy of the full report can be sourced at

What is Connecting people, connecting support?

Connecting people, connecting support is about how allied health professionals (AHPs) in Scotland can improve their support for people with dementia, their families and carers (people living with dementia) to enable them to have positive, fulfilling and independent lives for as long as possible.

Who is Connecting People, Connecting Support for?

Connecting people, connecting support will be of interest not only to people living with dementia and practising AHPs, but also integration joint boards, health boards, health and social care managers and practitioners, AHP leaders, social services and the third and independent sector.

The vision

Connecting people, connecting support will ensure the rehabilitation skills and expertise of the AHP workforce have an even greater positive impact on the lives, experiences and outcomes of people living with dementia than is currently the case. The aspiration is that people living with dementia have better access to a range of AHPs regardless of age or place of residence, early in their diagnosis and throughout their illness.

Evidence for action

As well as evidence developed through research, Connecting people, connecting support draws heavily on evidence collected by Alzheimer Scotland from people living with dementia, a scoping exercise on post-diagnostic support and research on AHP consultants. The evidence for action therefore reflects three sources:

  • conversations with people living with dementia using appreciative inquiry approaches to support participants to effect self-determined change by identifying what works best for them
  • collaboration with health and social care practitioners, higher education institutions and AHP professional bodies through engagement events and publications
  • evidence from research, literature reviews and scoping evaluations.

All the evidence examples can be seen at

The AHP approach

The approach aims to maximise the AHP contribution to high-quality, cost-effective dementia services that are tailored to the needs of individuals, reflect the best available evidence and are delivered by a skilled AHP workforce.

The AHP approach focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on five key elements.


The elements are presented separately, but must be considered collectively within the overall AHP assessment and rehabilitation approach for individuals.

What will Connecting People, Connecting Support deliver?

The aim is to ensure that AHP practice and AHP-led interventions for people living with dementia is underpinned by four principles.

  • A human rights-based approach will be at the forefront of each and every AHP interaction, with an emphasis on participation and empowerment, and recognition of personhood, identity and value.
  • AHPs will deliver services to people living with dementia using the biopsychosocial approach to rehabilitation, integrating the five key elements of the AHP approach, best clinical practice and what people say is important to them.
  • Dementia is every AHP’s business, offering services in dementia-aware environments, with people living with dementia being active contributors to the AHP rehabilitation process.
  • AHPs will adapt and tailor their rehabilitation interventions, taking into account the individual and at times changing needs of people living with dementia.

What will Connecting People, Connecting Support achieve?

Local implementation of the AHP approach will result in:

  1. enhanced access for people living with dementia to AHP-led information, supported self-management and targeted interventions to tackle the symptoms of dementia
  2. partnership and integration, contributing to a personal-outcomes approach, multiagency pathways and integrated models of care
  3. skilled AHP workforce in dementia care, with a commitment to leadership for transforming AHP practice
  4. innovation, improvement and research, utilising and generating research and integrating improvement science within everyday AHP practice.

Follow our progress of this work at the following has tags and leave any comments on this work on this blog post. Thank you for reading.

#AHPDementia   #AHPConnectingPeople    #AHPConnectingSupport


Connecting people, connecting support. A framework for integrating the contribution of allied health professionals in Scotland


To help improve the lives of people with dementia and those caring for them, a new framework has been created for restructuring and integrating the contribution of allied health professionals (AHP’s) to dementia care so that these professionals are working to greatest effect.

Developed through collaborative working with the Scottish Government, the allied health professional community and the experiences of people living with dementia, the newly created Connecting People, Connecting Support framework features as one of the key commitments outlined in Scotland’s third national dementia strategy (2017-2020) and will now be implemented by Alzheimer Scotland’s national AHP Consultant in tandem with the newly formed Alzheimer Scotland AHP Dementia Forum and other key stakeholders.


The new evidence informed policy with a foreword from the Minster for Mental Health was launched on Monday, September 25 at Alzheimer Scotland’s national office in Edinburgh. The celebration and “blether” event was welcomed by Jacqui Lunday-Johnstone, Chief Health Professions Officer from the Scottish Government, Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, alongside representatives from the Scottish Dementia Working Group and key stakeholders.

Allied health professionals are a distinct group of health professionals who apply their specific expertise to improve health, prevent illness, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate people of all ages and conditions working across all sectors and specialities. This new framework aims to deliver a more unified approach to dementia care by delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time and by improving the overall experiences of lives of people with dementia.

Speaking at the Connecting People, Connecting Support celebration launch event, Jacqui Lunday-Johnstone, Chief Health Professions Officer, Scottish Government, said: “The launch of our new allied health profession dementia policy is an important step forward and I would like to extend my thanks for all the work completed to help us reach this stage.

Connecting People, Connecting Support is not only the first policy of its kind for Scotland, it presents all AHPs, regardless of profession or service setting, with a great opportunity to realise their full skill-sets and work in new ways to deliver support and enablement for people with dementia.”

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland, Chief Executive, commented: “Today’s event is a celebration of all the hard work from everyone involved to date and of the successful collaborative working that has led us to this point. The new commitments as outlined in Scotland’s progressive and ambitious third national dementia strategy build on existing guarantees and take us closer to delivering a high quality, person centred service for people with dementia and their families, from the point of diagnosis to the end of life. Going forward we hope that enter into a new chapter that reflects a new synergy between the world of allied health professionals and their expertise and the lives of people with dementia.”

Elaine Hunter, National Allied Health Professions Consultant from Alzheimer Scotland, added: “I am delighted and honoured to be launching our first AHP dementia policy outlining our contribution to the transformation in services across Scotland. Today’s celebration event offered us the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the writing on this document which aims to help make a positive different to lives of people living with dementia.”
Please click the link to download a copy of and let us know what you think? Connecting People, Connecting Support – transforming the allied health professionals’ contribution to supporting people living with dementia in Scotland, 2017-2020.


#AHPDementia                 #AHPConnectingPeople                 #AHPConnectingSupport

Building capacity in the SDWG committee by Henry Rankin

Henry Rankin

A new training programme for the SDWG’s committee has seen members discuss everything from different types of dementia to LGBT equality. Here member Henry Rankin blogs about his experience of the training sessions, led by Alzheimer Scotland Training Officer Jenn Hall, and how they contribute to the SDWG’s priority of ‘Building Capacity’.

I have really enjoyed the training so far. It’s been done in small groups so you get more chances to speak –that’s why it works so well, because you’re not frightened to ask questions like you might be in a big group. I think it’s a thing that should be done each year for committee. Jenn was an excellent trainer: she was explaining everything and checking we understood. People were happy to ask her questions and she was very honest and informed in her answers.

The training is important because we want to be informed and welcoming for new members.  I think over the years we have improved dramatically but we need fresh faces coming in so you can hear different points of view, things that will help the group. I think it’s a breath of fresh air having new people – you get to know what interests them, what we can do to help them. They can raise current issues, for example around the year of post-diagnostic support that people are entitled to.

SDWG’s 2017 committee and staff team. (Photograph by Lewis Houghton)

Understanding Dementia

The first training we did was on different types of dementia. Our group is good for the simple reason that most of us have different types of dementia – you’ve got Korsakoff’s, Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia. I’m very interested in knowing about these so I’ve used my iPad to look up each type which I find fascinating. I wasn’t told much about my type of dementia when I was diagnosed. I think the information you are given now is much better but trying to find things out on an iPad was very difficult, so I really enjoyed the training session.

It’s good to know what kind of dementia people have because you’ll find that everybody in the group can tell you a story about their dementia and it’s good to hear these stories. You’ve got to feel confident that people understand you and your particular type of dementia to be able to contribute. It can take away your confidence when people don’t understand.

Dementia and Equalities

The training about equality and LGBT issues was great because it was so interesting. I felt embarrassed when I said “I don’t know anybody who is gay” and Jenn said “shake hands with me – you’ve met one now.” I thought that was classic. It didn’t make any difference to me – she gave that information not knowing how I would react and I think that’s great of her.

It’s important for the group to know these things because we need to be able to welcome new members who are LGBT and have their own issues because of that. I don’t think many of us knew anything about gay rights at all but it was so interesting to find out. All I knew about LGBT issues was seeing a Pride parade once when I was in Brighton visiting my son. I just stood back and watched. It was peaceful, bright and colourful and everybody was celebrating. It was great.

SDWG committee members learn about the significance of the rainbow flag to the LGBT community.

All in all, the training has been excellent. If you enjoy something you will get a lot out of it and remember lots. If you don’t enjoy something you won’t go back.

It’s made a big difference to me – I’ve enjoyed them and I’m looking forward to the third one. I go home bright and bubbly afterwards and talk about what we’ve learned with my family. I say to my wife “I’m learning about things that you don’t know about yet!”. People keep saying that people with dementia can’t learn but with these things I do remember some things vividly. People with dementia can still learn. We are still learning and building the group all the time.

Henry has also recently co-produced a film with fellow SDWG members Geordie Woods and Pat McGonigal and the Untold Motion Picture Company entitled ‘Living and Learning with Dementia’ which explores the theme of learning with dementia through looking at these members’ experiences of I.T. training. You can watch the film by clicking here.

This blog was originally posted on the Scottish Dementia Working Group blog at and we are delighted to share on our blog too.

Please leave any comments for the @S_D_W_G 

Thank you for reading.

The Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) is a national campaigning group for people with dementia. We are the independent voice of people with dementia within Alzheimer Scotland

With speech and language therapy you CAN…

So how CAN a Speech & Language Therapist help you to live with dementia?

Alzheimer Scotland has been working with our partners at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to launch a new post card to celebrate Worlds Alzheimer’s month #WAM2017.

Speech & Language Therapy services are available all over Scotland. You can talk to your GP, and mental health services and NHS boards have details of local speech and language therapy services which you can be referred to or you can refer yourself. Speech & Language Therapists help improve your health and wellbeing by supporting you if you have difficulties with communication or with eating, drinking and swallowing.

Speech and language therapy CAN …

  • Help you find strategies to communicate successfully in different situations
  • Help give you confidence to join in conversations and participate in the activities you enjoy
  • Support family, friends, colleagues and carers to adapt to your communication needs
  • Give advice on how to compensate for any difficulties eating drinking and swallowing

 Ask a Speech and Language Therapist …


Thank you for reading our blog. Please leave a comment or a question to keep us talking about dementia and how speech and language therapy CAN help you.


Other postcards we have developed in partnership with the allied health professional sharing who they are and how they CAN help.

Alzheimer Scotland Occupational Therapy interns

This time last year we were just finishing our summer as occupational therapy interns with Alzheimer Scotland. The internship was a busy 12 week period in which we worked on a range of projects and met lots of wonderful and interesting people.

Earlier this year we submitted abstracts to the Royal College of Occupational Therapy to display some of this work on posters at their annual conference. We were both fortunate to be accepted to display posters and Marianne was also selected to take part in a facilitated poster discussion. The conference took place in Birmingham on the 19th and 20th June with over 1500 delegates.

Attending the conference gave us lots of opportunities to speak with many occupational therapists from across the UK and further afield. We stood near our posters in between conference sessions so that we were able to chat to people and answer questions. People were very interested to hear about our posters and to talk about creative ways of understanding occupation and sharing information, especially using social media as this was a theme in both of our posters.

Rachel’s poster provided a summary of the @AHPdementia Instagram project which aimed to share knowledge and raise awareness of occupation, health and wellbeing over the course of dementia. Rachel posted her own photos on @AHPdementia Instagram with information about occupation and tips for living well with dementia. This is a project that the interns in 2017 have developed further. Whilst Marianne’s poster summarised her exploration of capturing meaningful occupation in photographs, which helped to inform one of our joint projects during the internship. Marianne took photos over the course of a day to document being an occupational therapy intern and to think about what is important to her.

People were also very interested to learn more about the internships in general and we were very happy to talk about our experiences from Alzheimer Scotland and working with the Scottish Dementia Working Group. We had a very enjoyable two days at the conference hearing from lots of different speakers and talking to people about our own work. We hope that people enjoyed seeing our posters and hearing about the Alzheimer Scotland occupational therapy internships. We also hope that this year’s interns have had a great experience and look forward to hearing about their projects too.

Have you done any work that you could share at a conference? Why not email us at Rachel Bew @RachelB_OT  or Marainne Wallace @MWallaceOT and share your stories.

And finally, let’s keep talking about dementia

Thank you for supporting our recent blogs by our occupational therapy interns and AHP volunteers, we hope you enjoyed reading them.  Let’s Talk about Dementia, is a blog hosted and supported by Alzheimer Scotland and led by allied health professional colleagues.

Let’s Talk about Dementia aims to share the work and practice of the allied health professionals in relation to dementia care. It aims to offer advice for people living with dementia, their carers, partners and families – focussing on topics that range from diet and physical activity, to keeping engaged with your community or remaining at home for as long as you would like. This blog can also be a source of information for other health and social care professional colleagues.

Let’s Talk about Dementia will:

  • Cover a range of topics and offer practical ideas, hint and tips
  • Share allied health professionals’ knowledge and expertise
  • Share links to useful resources
  • Share the work of Alzheimer Scotland
  • Share resources that you may not be aware of
  • Allow you to engage with us, share resources and discuss issues.

What else would you like to see posted in our blog posts? We would love to hear from you.

Celebrating a summer of growth: reflections from the 2017 Occupational Therapy Interns

Where it all began

It has been an exciting summer for the 2017 Occupational Therapy Interns (Nicole, Beth and Lynsey) and our very first AHP volunteer (Emily). Our work kicked off with the 2017 Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Awareness Week National Conference where we were first introduced to the Scottish Dementia Working Group and met the rest of the team. The conference was a perfect introduction to the internship as we got a taste of the policy frameworks and models we would be working towards, and a sense of the work previous interns and the AHP programme in @alzscot had produced over the last 5 years.

Our Collaborators

Over the summer we have worked alongside many inspiring people including the Scottish Dementia Working Group (@S_D_W_G), the National Dementia Carer’s Action Network (@NDCAN_Scotland), members of the Policy Team at Alzheimer Scotland (@alzscot), staff and students at Queen Margaret University (@QMUniversity) and finally our Supervisors, Elaine Hunter (@elaineahpmh) and Dr. Fiona Maclean (@MacleanFiona).


Our Projects

We have worked on many diverse projects over the summer, enabling us to experience new technologies and develop new skills. Some of the projects currently in development include:

Scottish Dementia Working Group Joint Projects

  1. A leaflet where we asked, “What is one thing you wish you had been told from somebody with dementia after being diagnosed?”  A main theme of the leaflet will focus on instilling hope and providing advice for the future in the words of people living with dementia.
  2.  Photographing meaningful occupation project. See this previous blog for a description:
  3. Sharing work of the “Top Tips” Leaflet from the 2015 internship. See

National Dementia Carer’s Action Network Joint Projects

  1. Glossary of terms leaflet developed for new members of NDCAN to assist with the barriers to engagement that come from acronyms and jargon.
  2. Literature Review focused on how Occupational Therapists can support families and carers of those with dementia. See this previous blog for a description:

Social Media Projects

See these previous blogs for more information:

Therapeutic Interventions Literature Review as part of a therapeutic toolkit for the Alzheimer Scotland workforce, establishing an evidence base for practice.


5 Key “Take-aways” from our experiences

Growth does not come without reflection.

“In order to benefit from accumulating experience, it is necessary to stop and think from time to time” (Roberts 2002)

As part of the internship, we often used reflective frameworks (Gibb’s reflective cycle) to guide our thinking.  These are some of the reflections that the 2017 Occupational Therapy Interns have come up with when thinking about our time at Alzheimer Scotland.

  1. “Members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group are different and it is due to their unique experiences that they all have something valuable to contribute. It is absolutely essential to have the voices and stories of those living with dementia and their families at the forefront of our work as future occupational therapists.”
  2. “Sometimes things don’t go to plan…whether it was the structure of a photo taking day, or the focus of a particular project, this internship has taught me to be flexible and embrace unpredictability, as sometimes it produces the best results.”
  3.  “I felt that working in the leading dementia organisation in Scotland allowed me the opportunity to practice in a more flexible environment where I had the freedom to prioritise the work I wanted to focus on. This has been a particularly valuable aspect of the internship as I have really had the opportunity to listen to people’s stories and what is important to them.”
  4. “Allied health professionals should be involved in dementia care and the policies that support it.  Social media can be an informal, effective way to engage with those who are living with dementia and their families.”
  5. Finally….”cakes, treats, and home baking always make meetings better!”

Whilst life and practice can be challenging, it is important to set aside time to think about how your experiences have and will shape your future actions. Future interns and projects stemming from the AHP programme can draw on these “take-aways” to create well-supported, positive partnerships with people living with dementia. It is partly through reflection that we will become better health care professionals, who are better able to support people living with dementia and their families and in turn, enhance outcomes.

Ot interns

What’s next?

As the summer comes to an end, the Occupational therapy interns and AHP volunteer will move on to other exciting opportunities in their careers and studies.

Lynsey will be taking up a full time Band 5 Occupational Therapy post while balancing out her role as a mum.

Nicole will be beginning her Master’s degree in Social Policy from the University of Strathclyde and staying on for a few hours as an AHP volunteer.

Beth will be resuming her studies at Queen Margaret University to complete her final year of her Master’s in Occupational Therapy.

Emily will be finishing her job at the Edinburgh Fringe and staying on with Alzheimer Scotland to support the Photographing Meaningful Occupations project.

At the heart of our future journeys in life, we will carry with us the learning opportunities, experiences and wisdom we have gained from this internship.


Staying in touch

As many of the 2017 internship projects are currently “works in progress”, we will be sharing the final products in the following months. In addition, we plan to share our work at different conferences throughout the year with poster presentations. Once again, we will continue to share our learning through social media on our own personal twitter accounts.

The blog will now be handed back over to Elaine Hunter (@elaineahpmh) and the team in Alzheimer Scotland to share the work and practice of allied health professions and the work of Alzheimer Scotland. So let’s keep talking about dementia; at home, at work, on the street, and on the bus, in cities, towns, and villages across Scotland.


  • Roberts, A. E. K. 2002. Advancing practice through continuing professional education: The case for reflection, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(5), pp.237-241.