Five top tips for staying well

Winter Tree

Approaching the winter months can be unsettling for many people. Below are five helpful hints to make sure that you are prepared for the change in seasons:

  1. Ask about the flu jab. It’s freely available to people over the age of 65, and to many adults with pre-existing health conditions, between October and March
  2. If you are able, and the weather allows, get as much fresh air as possible and stay active. If the weather makes it difficult to go out, use your time to revive any indoor hobbies
  3. Check your GP’s opening hours and make sure that you advance order any medication ahead of the festive period when the surgeries are closed
  4. Eat well. Ensure you are eating warm, nutritious meals regularly. You could keep a supply of these in the freezer, ready to quickly heat up
  5. Keep warm. Wear extra layers of clothes and have a supply of blankets. Wrap up warm when you’re going outdoors with hats, scarves and gloves.

If you need medical advice during times when your GP’s surgery is closed. NHS24’s freephone helpline is available 24 hours a day. Just call 111. 

The Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Helpline is also available 24 hours a day for dementia advice. Call 0808 808 3000 

By Tilda McCrimmon, Alzheimer Scotland Lead Nurse for Dementia, Golden Jubilee Hospital & NHS24


A Post Diagnostic Resource by the Scottish Dementia Working Group “please don’t label me, I am more than my dementia”


The Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) have developed a peer to peer resource for people who have been recently diagnosed with dementia. Members of the SDWG hope the  document highlights that people are still very capable and should not lose hope in themselves when receiving this diagnosis. Four themes were established from a conversation which began with the question: What is one thing you wish you had been told from somebody with dementia after being diagnosed?

  1. How to find acceptance and positivity
  2. Stay engaged in things that matter to you
  3. Having support from others can be vital to living well with dementia
  4. Get informed!

In this week’s blog, we are sharing our ideas on “How to find acceptance and positivity”

Everyone’s path to acceptance is different

Give yourself time to process your diagnosis. Some people may take longer than others, and that is okay. Often having a good support network or knowing that someone is there to check in on you can help you through the process.

Don’t stop believing in your strengths and abilities now that you have a diagnosis

Some people and their families think that being diagnosed means you “can’t do anything anymore”. However, you may find that you feel more confident, therefore become more involved, when you receive a formal diagnosis due to better support and understanding of how the illness will affect them.

Don’t give up hope for the future

Although things may not be the same, this may be an opportunity to try new hobbies or groups. Trying new things can add value and purpose to life after a diagnosis. People sometimes feel they live a better life now compared to when they were first diagnosed.

It would be great to hear your answers to the question

What is one thing you wish you had been told from somebody with dementia after being diagnosed?


For more information about this resource, please contact us at or connect with us at @S_D_W_G

“Roots to Occupation” by the Scottish Dementia Working Group @S_D_W_G

A postcard was developed by the Alzheimer Scotland occupational therapy interns (Ciara & Sarah) and the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) in August 2018. Together, they talked about what occupations and activities were important to members of the SDWG and went on to reflect how members continue to engage in activities that are important to them.  This blog post shares the postcard.

The ‘Roots to Occupation’ was developed from “blethers” the occupational therapy interns had with different members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group and shares the practical activities that members of the SDWG engage in every day. However, what our tree also goes on to represent are the foundations that enable people to engage in their everyday occupations (activities) – what we have called the roots to occupation. Without these roots, the activities would not happen. Three main themes emerged to engage in everyday activities/occupations:

  1. The different aspects of me

My daily routine: visual prompts using white board, TV magazine, calendar or diary. My safety measures: door and falls alarms and reminder stickers. My assistive devices: hearing aids, glasses, blood glucose meter

  1. My environment

My home: my lifelong home, sheltered housing or my care home. Stigma free society: others attitudes, the language they use and opportunities they provide. Familiar places: safe community settings with friendly staff and quiet places provided

  1. People in my life

Transport services: individuals including taxi driver, bus driver and airport staff. My community: members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group, my hairdresser & befrienders.

You can find out more about the Scottish Dementia Working Group here or on twitter @S_D_W_G #OTIntern2018 #AHPConnectingPeople


Thank you. This work was a partnership approach including


Five facts about the Scottish Dementia Working Group


What is the Scottish Dementia Working Group?

The Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) is a national campaigning and awareness-raising Group whose members all have a diagnosis of dementia. They are the independent voice of people with dementia within Alzheimer Scotland.  The SDWG campaigns to improve services for people with dementia and to improve attitudes towards people with dementia, meeting regularly to support each other and to find ways to improve services and attitudes.

Five facts about SDWG

  1. Anyone with a diagnosis of dementia can join the group

SDWG is open to anyone with a diagnosis of dementia, regardless of the type or stage of dementia.  We want to ensure we represent as many people with dementia as possible. You do not have to have experience of campaigning, being a committee member or public speaking to get involved. SDWG work with individuals to find out how they would like to contribute to the work of group and the support that is required to make it possible.

  1. SDWG are a friendly and relaxed group

While the purpose of SDWG is to campaign, challenge stigma and influence policy and practice within Scotland, our meetings are an opportunity to meet with others and share experiences. SDWG members enjoy attending and value the peer support that comes through involvement in the group. Our members often talk about the friendship made and positive experiences they have while working with SDWG.

  1. SDWG offer a buddy system for anyone interested in finding out more about us

We know that it can be daunting for anyone to attend a new group. To help overcome this, SDWG members offer a buddy system whereby individuals can meet with an existing member to hear first-hand about the group before deciding whether to get involved.  This can be arranged within local communities.  The buddy system is available throughout membership to ensure that members feel confident and supported to be involved in a way that is meaningful to them.

  1. We are a national group and want to represent people with dementia across Scotland

SDWG recognise that the lived experience of dementia is different for each individual and that services and support vary across the country.  We want to ensure that we represent this diversity and campaign about the issues that are important. People with dementia talk about what is important to them in a range of settings, not just in SDWG meetings, please let SDWG know if there are topics you would like raised at a national level.

We understand that travel can be a significant barrier for many people and so offer a range of ways to get involved in person and remotely. We currently hold general meetings four times a year in Glasgow and Dundee, however SDWG can travel and engage with people across the country.  Please contact us to find out how we can support people with dementia in your area to get involved.

  1. Members can choose to be involved as much or as little as they like

SDWG have a member of around 100 people with dementia. Not everyone attends meetings in person. Some people simply like to receive our newsletter and others like to be involved in consultations remotely via email, skype or telephone. If you support someone who would not be able to travel but wants to join the conversation, please do not hesitate to call to talk about  how we can support them to learn more about SDWG.

Keep in touch

Tel: 0141 410 1171

Follow us on Twitter  @S_D_W_G 


Movement for Memories

Images kindly provided by Edinburgh Leisure & cannot be used without their permission

Hello! My name is Sarah Aitken, I’m a fourth-year Occupational Therapy student at Queen Margaret University. I’ve been on placement with Alzheimer’s Scotland since September 3rd and have been learning all about the services and groups they are involved with.  I attended a session at Edinburgh Leisure to discuss their new project “Movement for Memories”

I was intrigued to know more so I met with Sam Scott, Health Development Officer for dementia within Edinburgh Leisure. He holds great passion for his new project “Movement for Memories”. Sam informed me of his wealth of knowledge he had gained from his involvement in previous projects and together with the use of current research he has set out to better the life of people living with dementia.

What is Movement for Memories?

Edinburgh Leisure obtained funding from Life Changes Trust to bring this new project to life. The trust is funded by the Big Lottery. Movement for Memories is designed to support people living with dementia to be active and also people who are not diagnosed but are showing signs and symptoms of dementia can also join the project.

With various activities, including swimming, gym, golf, tennis and fitness classes there is something for everyone. To join the project, you either self-refer yourself by phone, email or on the Edinburgh Leisure website. You can also be referred by a health professional or dementia link worker.

If you are referred to Movement for Memories a member of Edinburgh Leisure’s Active Communities team will meet you for a 1 to 1 to help you identify your interests and provide the appropriate support, you need to get active.  Edinburgh Leisure offers a Dementia Friendly Buddy Service, delivered by volunteers; supporting you to access a range of activities more confidently.  For example, they might meet you at reception to show you where to go; they may help you set up gym equipment or support you round the golf course.  All Movement for Memories participants will receive an Edinburgh Leisure Get Active card providing 12-weeks free access to gym, swim, golf, tennis and fitness classes followed by 9 months of concessionary access. Sam described the project to be tailored made for people with dementia. Through the project carer’s of people with dementia are also entitled to a carers access card which allows them discounted access to Edinburgh Leisure facilities.

Movement for Memories also delivers an outreach service, where Edinburgh Leisure’s Active Communities team work with Dementia Communities (such as dementia cafes or dementia support groups) to provide free physical activity sessions for people living with dementia. Delivered in partnership with local dementia services; activities will be based on the needs of the group and can take place in community venues or Edinburgh Leisure venues. Sessions will provide a fun introduction to different activities that will support people with dementia and their carers get active. Activities will be chosen by participants and will run once a month or over a rolling six-week programme.

How did it all come about?

Research into the benefits of physical exercise has proven a need to help encourage people living with dementia to participate in meaningful activities which allows them to keep active. To begin with, Movement for Memories team set out to find out what people living with dementia wanted from Edinburgh Leisure by visiting support groups, day clubs, care homes and getting the opinion of those who will benefit from the service. With the information gathered they developed their Buddy Service as well as an Outreach Service as this was the type of support people with dementia said would help them to be physically active

Individuals living with dementia all experience dementia differently, this results in everyone needing a different, personal and tailored level of support which these classes/buddy support sessions allow.

How do you get involved in volunteering?

Edinburgh Leisure works with volunteers to support individuals living with dementia to participate in physical activities. If you are living in Edinburgh and are looking for a volunteer opportunity and enjoy physical activity, this could be for you! Edinburgh Leisure are seeking volunteers to help support their Movement for the Memories project. Their volunteers currently come from all walks of life; from students to health professionals to people just wanting to support people with dementia. If you are interested in volunteering for Edinburgh Leisure visit the vacancies section of their webpage.

Movement for Memories volunteers will receive core Edinburgh Leisure training and dementia specific training and will be subject to a PVG check before they begin their work with the individuals living with dementia. All Movement for Memories volunteers are supported by Sam and his team and they are open to questions, suggestions and enquires regarding the project.

Thank you for reading this blog please and we would love to hear how you keep physically active when living with dementia or supporting someone with dementia.


Sarah Aitken, 4th year occupational therapy student in partnership with Sam Scott, Health Development Officer (Dementia), Edinburgh Leisure
Contact details and further questions

For further details or questions about Movement for Memories please do not hesitate to get in touch with Sam Scott.
Tel: 0131 458 2100 | Mob: 07974 174363.