Dementia can be caused by many different diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular disease and Lewy body disease). There is currently no cure for any of them. So how can we make a difference? In this talk we will explore contributions that anyone can make that we believe will make a difference - to both advancing medical research and to the way people with dementia are supported and engaged in society. We will talk about medical imaging tests we can do for dementia, the latest research taking place at the moment and the input we need from members of the public to make this research happen. We will discuss the benefits of creative interventions such as drama, improvisation, poetry, group-work and what John Killick described as “playfulness”. We will illustrate with stories from our experiences and encourage the audience to share their own experiences and views.
Nicky is a research nurse at Newcastle University and has worked with patients and volunteers on numerous clinical studies into dementia, including brain bank and medical imaging studies.
Gemma is a scientist specialising in nuclear medicine imaging using radioactive tracers. Her research aims to improve these scans so they can be used for very early dementia diagnosis. She is also a Dementia Friends Champion for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Mike has been interested in the emotional potential of both drama and group-work for many years. In 2010, following the death of his mother from dementia, he began considering ways in which group-work might benefit people with dementia. This resulted in the establishment of the Laughter Box for Age UK and Skylarks Creative Engagement in Northumberland.