The University of Suffolk and local partners have hosted a conference exploring perceptions of dementia as part of this year’s Festival of Social Science, run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Now in its sixteenth year, the Festival is the UK’s biggest celebration of social science. It runs nationally from 3-10 November and involves public debates, conferences, workshops, film screenings and virtual exhibitions.
The aim is to highlight the impact of social science research on people's lives and the University of Suffolk will be hosting two events for the public.
‘Movement and Memories: Exploring Perceptions of Dementia’ was held on 10 November in partnership with Orwell Housing Association and Sue Ryder. The event centred around performances from the internationally acclaimed physical theatre company, Gecko who drew on the experiences of those living with dementia and carers.
The event included a presentation of the preliminary findings from the evaluation of the Sue Ryder 'Dementia Together' service by researchers at the University of Suffolk. Themes revolved around personal stories, the arts and dementia and service provision, including speakers from the arts organisations and services working directly with people living with dementia and their carers.
Katie Tyrrell, Research Associate at the University of Suffolk said, “As a recently established dementia-friendly university, we welcomed practitioners, people living with dementia and their carers to the event. We had a varied programme of performance, research dissemination and personal testimony.”
“Evidence frequently suggests that arts interventions promote enhanced quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers. We hope following the conference there will be further discussion about the role of the arts, current service provision and how society can support individuals to live well with dementia.”
Wendy Evans-Hendrick, CEO of Orwell Housing Association said, “Supporting the event at the University of Suffolk demonstrates our commitment to raising awareness of living with Dementia. We were delighted to work with Gecko Physical Theatre Company on the performance, which some of our carers are contributed to, it was a great opportunity to bring together a group of people, in one place, to share experiences and talk directly with people living with or caring for someone with dementia.”
“Dementia is putting major pressure on our health service and we are committed to making sure that the support is in place to care and offer people solutions to live an independent life for as long as possible. The event at the University provided an opportunity to showcase the range of services Orwell Housing Association is already delivering, to those who have been diagnosed with dementia and their carers.”
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