Connecting People: Twitter – a beginners guide by beginners

What is twitter? Wondering what to include in your profile or what to include in a tweet?  How do you send a tweet and what should you include?

These were just some of the questions being answered in this week’s blog. We are sharing a slide show with dialogue from our occupational therapy interns (2016) Marianne and Rachel – as just one of the many projects they developed with and for the Scottish Dementia Working Group. Sit back and enjoy (if the slideshow below does not work on your computer you can also access it here):

We welcome any comments and do let us know what you would have shared in your beginners guide to twitter.


@S_D_W_G working hard at their Tuesday IPad class.

“This is me”

This week’s blog post comes in the form of a video. Featured in the video is Henry Rankin, Chair of The Scottish Dementia Working Group reading his personal story in which he has entitled This is me”. Sit back and enjoy this short video in which Henry challenges us all to think about how we look at someone living with dementia or what we remember about them.

We would like to add a special thanks to the fantastic Henry Rankin for his honesty and reflections.

You can find information on The Scottish Dementia Working Group and some of their members at their website or follow them on twitter @S_D_W_G

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We hope you have enjoyed watching and challenge you all to think…

  • What makes you who you are?
  • If you met someone, what would they remember about you?

We would also greatly appreciate any comments and feedback on this short video.

“What’s important to me”: Living Well with Dementia

The Scottish Dementia Working Group (@S_D_W_G) is a national campaigning group, run by people with dementia. SDWG are the independent voice of people with dementia within Alzheimer Scotland and campaigns to improve services for people with dementia and to improve attitudes towards people with dementia. ( )

Over the summer I had the pleasure of working with this fabulous group during my occupational therapy internship with Alzheimer Scotland. We undertook to co-produce a resource where group members could have their “voice” heard at a number of different events.   This project began by inviting members to answer the question:

What’s important to me?”

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Twelve members took part and images of each person with their answer to the question have been collated in a video. We have really enjoyed completing this project and we hope you enjoying watching.

We welcome any feedback and comments about our short film.

Also, what do you do to find out what’s important to the people you work with?

You can also connect with us on twitter at @elaineahpmh and @chrisgcousins and @S_D_W_G

Elaine HunterElaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.


Christopher Cousins

Occupational Therapy Intern  


I am an Occupational Therapy Student from Queen Margaret University and am currently working in the role as Occupational Therapy Intern within Alzheimer Scotland working with The Scottish Dementia Working Group and using social media to promote what we are doing. I am in post for June, July and August 2015.


Care about Continence Not just seeing the person… listening to them too!

People often talk about living with dementia as a journey and in many ways I too feel that I have embarked upon a journey of discovery and hopefully understanding.  Working with the Care Inspectorate has given me the opportunity to connect with a whole range of people who have a commitment and passion to change how we deliver care and support to people living with dementia and their families and carers.

I have also had the opportunity to meet and work with the members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) and the National Dementia Carers Action Network (NDCAN). My thinking and attitudes towards people living with dementia and their families and carers have changed significantly over the past two years and with this change comes a feeling that currently we are on the cusp of yet another breakthrough.

Person Centred Care leading to Citizenship

I have always considered myself to work in a very person centred fashion, seeing the person for who they are and the life that has been lived and experienced.  However, if I am honest, I think my expectations for their future was slim. Did I see on-going potential in the person living with dementia? Did I think of people living with dementia as equal citizens with rights? Or was my focus on the losses that the individual had experienced, be that the ability to drive, make decisions, or manage their own self-care. Seeing a person with dementia as citizen means that as a society we need to rethink how we support them to remain engaged and influence the world around them. This is not just best practice but is the right of the individual, not just if we have time, but every time!

Archie Noone from the SDWG recently joined us for a two day event in Stornoway, his contribution was invaluable and influenced the tone and ultimately the learning experience of those who attended. Archie was not there as token gesture, but as a vital component of the day, at the break it was Archie’s contribution that people were talking about and I am sure that it is him people will remember.

Care about Continence, a partnership experience

This was brought home to me very clearly in a recent project that we have been working on in the Care Inspectorate with a wide group of stakeholders.  My colleague Jackie Dennis is the Professional Adviser for Continence. She raised with me the increased rates of incontinence especially within the care home setting. We began to question and explore this and discovered that there was wide variability across services that did not match our expectations. We formed a working group and from day one the voice of the person living with dementia and family carers were an essential part of the conversation.  This has led to the development of a new resource “Care about Continence”.

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On the working group, Archie from SDWG and Christine, Lorna and Emma from NDCAN were joined by representatives from NHS Continence Advisors, Allied Health Professionals, care home staff, Scottish Care and University West of Scotland. We worked together to produce a resource that supports the rights of people with dementia and their carers and also follows best practice and current research.

Listen here to Archie Noone in this 3 minute film talking about his experience of managing his continence needs:

The resource will be launched in March 2015 and will include a useful pocket guide for people living with dementia, their families and friends and staff, as well as a DVD. The guide is written from the perspective of the person who is being supported.  Here is a sneak peak of the key messages.

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This guide is about how you can support ME to:

  • recognise when I need to go to the toilet, making sure I get there on time
  • find the toilet
  • get to the toilet either on my own or with some help
  • use the toilet once I get there
  • adjust my clothing and wash my hands after I have used the toilet
  • find my way out and return to where I want to go.

Staying continent for as long as possible while living with dementia and other long term conditions is something that I want to do, but I might need your help to do this.

It’s the small changes that can really help.

5 key messages

  1. Know me and what’s important in my life and do what’s best for me.
  2. Know me and how I communicate.
  3. What I need to stay continent and how you can help.
  4. Create an environment that supports me to be independent and promotes continence.
  5. Look for every opportunity to promote my continence –Be creative.

Follow this link to a 3 minute film to see Archie Noone get his message across in his own indomitable fashion:

Delivering the right kind of support for people and their families with dementia can only be done if they are fully included at the very start of projects and new models of working. I am immensely proud of this resource and grateful for how it has contributed to my own development. So, thank you to everyone on the group, you are all valued colleagues.  The skills and experiences that everyone brought to the table have truly shaped and influenced this resource.

So next time you are thinking about changing a service, or starting a new group ask yourself are you reflecting what really matters to people living with dementia and their families and carers, and how have you engaged with them?

Follow me on twitter @HeatherAHP and the Care Inspectorate @careinspect

Heather Edwards
Dementia Consultant

I joined the Care Inspectorate in January 2013 as a Dementia Consultant covering all of Scotland. My role is to promote improvement in dementia care and support in all registered care services, making sure that the voice of the person with dementia and their families and carers is at the heart of all that we do. I am an occupational therapist by profession with over 25 years experience working with older people both here in Scotland and America.