• Brighton Days 24 October 2016 | View comments

  • 24th October 2016 | By David Jolley

    The Journal of Dementia Care is probably the most useful magazine in the field, readable and lively it covers a lot of ground and makes reference to articles in more scholarly journals which we can look at if they seem to be relevant to our interests and current needs.

    But I have grown to love the annual Congress. It is my ‘must go’ professional event for every year. In this it has displaced the annual residential conference of the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry. It has the advantage of being multidisciplinary and includes all the agencies contributing to the care of people with dementia and their families.

    The downside is that it is, inevitably, focussed entirely on the condition dementia. I worry that more should be done to hold together the care for older people with other mental disorders too. Perhaps this can be created out of the success we have here.

    I have been especially taken with the Congresses at Brighton which is a place like no other. From the first walk down from the station past people sitting at chess sets on the pavement, via reliving of times in The Lanes as a student, I have been a fan.

    There will be presentations to listen to and look at. There will be people to meet. We will grow strong again from the nourishment of spirits joined.

    Latterly there have been awards. This year it is wonderful to know that Dementia Pathfinders is linked to three entries shortlisted for awards.

    The impressive Joy Watson, who has been to one of our Dementia Conversations at Bowdon Vale, and hopefully will make this a regular date, is listed for her exceptional contributions as a person with dementia. http://www.salford.ac.uk/news/articles/2016/dementia-campaigner-joy-watson-honoured

    The Department of Health funded project supporting people with young onset dementia and their families must be a strong contender in its category http://dementiapathfinders.org/supporting-people-with-young-onset-dementia-and-their-families.html

    As will be the fabulous Dance for Life, a collaboration with Matthew Bourne's New Adventures & Re: Boirne

    http://www.new-adventures.net/rebourne/projects/dance-for-life/about

    The span of these entries demonstrates the range and flair which Dementia Pathfinders can exhibit, still so early in its development and with such modest finance. So much rests on the initiatives and vision of Barbara Stephens. It is a credit to her and those closest to her that recognition like this is being achieved. Winning is infectious and may help validate more of the work of our fledgling organisation.

    We have 15 minutes to outline the origins and experiences of Dementia Conversations. I believe this is something which should and could be part of every town and village. It is a way, perhaps the way, to bring power and satisfaction back to grass roots. This is a chance to set the ball rolling a bit further and a bit faster.

    Brighton. What better place to do it!

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