A-Z Reflections from the Dementia Congress, Nottingham

Screen with tweet words - Img_4616

I have just returned from the Dementia Congress in Nottingham #UKDC2013. Two and a half days dedicated to cutting-edge practice, stimulating conversations and wonderful passionate people. Including having a memorable #dementiachallengers chat with fab Angela Rippon!



I was acutely aware that many people can’t attend – because they are caring for people living with dementia. Or indeed living with dementia themselves.

This irony was flagged up by several people that I tweet with – also money, travel, logistics, the whole luxury of spending time away. As promised,  I included Charmaine Hardy’s tweets in the introduction to our Whose Shoes? #dementiachallengers workshop.

And here’s your photo, Charmaine 🙂

Ken and Sarah Img_4648The workshop was presented in partnership with Ken Howard, an extremely interesting guy who lives with younger onset dementia, and my friends and colleagues Sarah Reed and fab graphic facilitator, Anna Geyer. If you are wondering why the door is open in the workshop, we had to go out of the banana-shaped room, along the corridor, through some double doors and then go through a different door to be able to engage with people at the back of the room … because the room was so crammed with people! Indeed we discovered an extra discussion group that we didn’t even know was there. Shades of Malta with the discussion group on the floor. Thank you to everyone for your amazing support!
Pairs discussions Img_4659
There had been a bit of hype about the workshop…

People had arrived an hour early but we had persuaded them to put their names on places and go off to the Plenary. But then a few names got ‘mislaid’ as others arrived. When they came back at the proper time, they had to be turned away, which was tricky. So huge apologies to anyone who really wanted to come but wasn’t able to. This was true of other interactive workshops too, I believe (hence letter ‘I’ below).

But soon everybody settled down

Anyway, back to the original purpose of the blog…A year ago, I compiled a quick A-Z of some random thoughts after Dementia Congress 2012.
It turned out to be one of my most popular blogs, so I hope you enjoy my musings from Dementia Congress 2013 and the opportunities ahead:

Australia  Look out for … my #dementiachallengers tour with Kate Swaffer – Sydney-Melbourne-Adelaide  tour (Dec 2013) Choice! Control! No stigma! See the person!

Bureaucracy battles Far too many 😦  Rebecca Myers’ blog this week says it all.

Carers often can’t attend conferences. Live-stream next year please!
Dementia  The ‘D’ word. #dementiachallengers are making a difference! And a cracking dementia diagnosis debate!
Experts by experience  Brilliant to see people with dementia speaking out!
Fear  If we can eradicate stigma, the fear of dementia will lessen.
Grief and loss are a very real part of dementia. Brave and important workshop!
Hoover   Some people hoover your precious energy. Avoid them. 😉
Interactive is important   Let’s use the knowledge and experience in the room!
And indeed, let’s have enough room, please – interactive sessions need space for people to move around and talk to each other.

J*DI respect for those who make things happen. Shoutout for dementiachallengers.com!
Ken (England) and Kate (Australia) – I love working with people living with dementia
Live in the moment – arguably an important lesson for all of us
Medicalisation of dementia … or emphasis on quality of life?
Overthinking…  Some improvements are cheap and simple and … Obvious.
Sheila Wainwright Carer presentation Img_4635Personal stories told with passion. What do you remember from conferences?.
Questions  Frustrating when there is no time. People want to be involved!

Radicals! Be a Healthcare Radical!
Call for ALL #dementiachallengers to sign up!

Support is paramount. For the person. For the main carer. For the whole family.
Time – are we too busy to make time for people with dementia ?
Urgency! What will have changed by Dementia Congress 2014?
Value everybody. We are all human beings. See the person.
Whose Shoes? scenarios get people talking about things that matter. Instantly.

Xtra priority for interactive workshops next year please!
Young people can change attitudes.
Zzzzzzzz….. Tired after a thought-provoking and full-on Congress 🙂

It has indeed been an amazing year for the #dementiachallengers. We are indeed rocking the boat, Helen Bevan, and (on a good day!) staying in it. We have huge passion and energy and I hope will ALL sigh up to be ‘Healthcare Radicals’. U is for Urgency and, if you still wonder why, then PLEASE read Rebecca’s story. Incredibly honoured to know – and be friends with – such an amazing group of people and that ‘our own’ Suzy Webster told her family story from the heart at the end of the Congress.

We live in hope and determination for a better future for everyone living with dementia.

WS workshop programme - Img_4664

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives. http://nutshellcomms.co.uk
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7 Responses to A-Z Reflections from the Dementia Congress, Nottingham

  1. Only Gill could condense 2.5 days of information into something so readable and informative. Oh yeah … NUTSHELL COMMUNICATIONS!


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  3. Simon Foster says:

    You are so right about carers and live streaming would be one way to help. Some of the technology was evidently in place, as proceedings were streamed as far as the exhibition hall next door.

    I missed just as much the presence of those planning and commissioning care. I think there were probably more carers than council staff – certainly than commissioners and planners. Many council commissioners cannot afford or access training or development for themselves – and some are not allowed travel expenses beyond their borough boundaries. It’s a loss for all of us that they are so badly represented at such a great event. We need to find ways of incorporating them too.


  4. Brilliant post Gill and testimony to your skill at being able to make so much information succinct and your passion and support for people living with and our own #dementiachallengers I wish I had been able to attend the whole congress. THANK YOU for the overview of the bits that I missed.


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