Work Programme 4: An Update on Activity in Stirling and Forth Valley

This past year has been a busy one up here in Scotland. With a wide geographical area covering rural areas, towns and villages and Stirling city we have been getting to know a lot of people and finding out about all different kinds of neighbourhoods and communities. Since Easter we have been out and about recruiting people to take part in the project and carrying out a range of interviews.

Thank you to all our participants who allowed us into their homes, made us feel so welcome, and shared their experiences of living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia. We are also very grateful to all the organisations and individuals who helped and guided us in our recruitment drive, facilitated our attendance at events and scheduled our giving presentations to various parties.

We have recruited a number of people living with dementia and their carers, and are hoping to recruit more couples and people living on their own with dementia in the coming months. Our participants so far come from a wide range of geographical areas, backgrounds and ages (from early 60s to late 70s and 80s). With them we have carried out walking interviews, home tours and social network mapping exercises.

Over the summer and autumn our participants have taken us on some incredible walks through historic landscapes and townscapes around our diverse area. Through these walks we have gained a wealth of knowledge about how places work for people with dementia and the nature of what makes a place special. We have also heard some wonderful stories about communities and neighbourhoods and have gained important insights into how they work for people with dementia and their carers. Another aspect of the fieldwork interviews has been learning about the type of informal support there is and how people think about it. Over the next few months we will be analysing our findings in more detail, while continuing to recruit, before we revisit the people who have worked with us this year.

We have also, with Caroline Swarbrick from Manchester University, set up a lay researchers group drawn from members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group in Glasgow. Caroline, who leads the Member Involvement work, is currently holding regular meetings with them as they explore and decide on their own project which is part of our overall investigation into neighbourhoods and dementia. They are a dedicated and hard working group and we are excited to be involved with them and look forward to supporting their work.

Our project administrator, Lindsay, has also been busy with, among other things, setting up meetings, keeping records, putting together our project Newsletter, and working tirelessly to keep us visible online with Twitter and our webpages.