As part of the ERASMUS+2017 project “AD-Autonomy”, Dr Ben Hicks and Irma Konovalova from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre and Psychology department, hosted a three day meeting with their European partners from Slovenia, Turkey, Greece and Spain. The meetings were held in Brighton from the 11th-13th March 2019 and were the fourth in a series that have taken place over the past 1.5 years in the representative partner countries. During this time, the project has sought to collaborate alongside people with dementia and their care partners to explore how they seek to retain their autonomy throughout their journey with dementia, as well as develop an information portal that can support them with the challenges they may encounter. This fourth meeting presented an opportunity for the project partners to get together, view a prototype of the online information portal and discuss the training they will be delivering to the end-users during May-July 2019.
The first day involved discussions about the training processes and the validation measures that could be used to explore its impact on the quality of life for people with dementia and their care partners. Given the varying professional backgrounds of the partners, with both academics and practitioners present, it was unsurprising that these were the liveliest discussions. However, by the end of the day an outcome was reached that satisfied everyone and so all partners headed off for a well-deserved dinner at a local tapas restaurant. Although the discussions had been long, and sometimes fairly heated, everyone remained excited and positive about the final stages of the project.
The concluding two days were a little less emotionally charged, as the partners discussed the implementation of the training program within the different countries as well as the dissemination of the final outputs. The project will conclude in September 2019 and plans are underway to present the findings through: setting up local events within the representative countries; writing one technical and one academic paper for the varied audiences; and delivering presentations at international conferences. So far two conferences have been targeted for 2019: the International MinD Conference “Designing with and for People with Dementia: Wellbeing, Empowerment and Happiness,” held in Germany, and the Open Living Lab Days “Co-creating innovation: scaling up from Local to Global” in Greece. However, given the positive feedback the project has received to date, it is likely that more opportunities for international dissemination will present themselves in the future.
Exciting times await!
By Irma Konovalova