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When life gives you lemons…

Shirley Pearce BSc MRCOT, Founder/CEO, Understanding Dementia

Shirley Pearce BSc MRCOT, Founder/CEO, Understanding Dementia

After working in dementia care in various roles and settings, I noticed a gap between awareness and a real understanding of the condition, even among specialist professionals. I started the charity Understanding Dementia to bridge that gap and lessen the impact on those who live with it.

In Covid lockdowns, the sudden closure of face-to-face services left local family carers unsupported. We trialled interactive courses via virtual meetings, with overwhelmingly positive feedback; training for health and care professionals soon followed.

Instead of merely covering biomedical information, training in our counter-intuitive approach focuses on feelings and communication skills. It is delivered in bite-sized amounts, with time between sessions to apply the approach in practice, and ongoing support via email and closed online groups. Participants report improved client outcomes and increased job satisfaction, with fewer behavioural issues.

Health and care workers in geographically scattered teams train together or in different meetings according to their shift patterns. Where family members and professionals use the same approach, clients experience seamless care.

We have turned a potential training crisis into an opportunity to support many more people with dementia, by training those who care for them.


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