Becoming a Dementia-Friendly University
The University of Nottingham began the journey towards becoming a dementia-friendly university one year ago. On May 19th, 2016, as part of Dementia Awareness Week, the Alzheimer’s Society formally recognised the University of Nottingham as the first ever dementia-friendly university.
What is dementia?
Dementia refers to an incurable, degenerative group of brain disorders, and the number of people affected by dementia is growing. In the UK, dementia will affect one million people by 2025.
- Many of us will live with a failing memory for several years towards the end of our lives.
- Families are under pressure to support frail older members in the community
- Health and social care services are struggling to meet the challenge of unprecedented numbers of older people living with memory loss.
What is the university doing to help?
The Alzheimer’s Society launched two initiatives following the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge in 2012. The University of Nottingham is a member of the Dementia Action Alliance, a coalition of organisations that are signed up to a Dementia Action Plan. Our action plan focuses on awareness-raising, volunteering opportunities, and excellence in teaching and research.
The second programme, Dementia-Friendly Communities, is also relevant to a university like Nottingham: “In these communities: people will be aware of and understand more about dementia; people with dementia and their carers will be encouraged to seek help and support; and people with dementia will feel included in their community, be more independent and have more choice and control over their lives.”
What does a dementia-friendly university look like?
We asked ourselves: What would a dementia-friendly university look like? The University of Nottingham set aims and objectives in four key areas of university life:
- Public presence: Reducing stigma, dispelling fear and creating a more tolerant society
- Human Resources: Developing exemplary and innovative employment practices around dementia
- Education: Achieving excellence in dementia education at the University of Nottingham
- Research: Innovative research on dementia that has a national and international impact
What have we achieved so far?
In addition to providing excellent research and teaching on dementia, the University of Nottingham is committed to a range of initiatives to destigmatise dementia. Successes so far include:
- Nottingham University has been an active member of the Dementia Action Alliance since 2014
- As a result of our work, 225 students, staff, alumni and friends have signed up as Dementia Friends to date. To join them, visit www.idea.nottingham.ac.uk/pledge
- Following an online campaign to encourage people to Join Dementia Research, 103 people have put themselves forward as research subjects.
- The University raised £359,000 for dementia research.
- We have begun five new dementia-related studies with NIHR funding in 2015-16 totalling more than £6.5m.