University of Stirling works with housing association to bring dementia awareness into the home

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Older woman talking to man
Left to right: Nikki Thomson, carer with Eildon Housing Association; Eildon tenant Margaret Harrison; David Wilson-Wynne of the Dementia Services Development Centre.

A leading Scottish housing association and the University of Stirling are working together to bring dementia awareness into care at home. 

Eildon Housing Association (Eildon), which provides affordable homes for people needing care and support, has worked with dementia experts at the University to develop bespoke training for its 230 staff. 

The partnership is a first for the University of Stirling - a leader in healthy ageing research - and its world-renowned Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC). 

David Wilson-Wynne, DSDC Senior Dementia Care Consultant, worked with Eildon to design a bespoke training programme for its care managers, which is being cascaded to care staff. The training ranges from direct dementia care to signposting to advice on accessing local dementia services. 

David shared DSDC’s resources and his knowledge to help Eildon staff understand the importance of creating dementia-inclusive environments and improving dementia awareness. He also encouraged staff to see the environment from the perspective of a person living with dementia and to identify areas for improvement. 

David said: “At Stirling and DSDC, it is our mission to improve the lives of people living with dementia. Two-thirds of people living with a dementia diagnosis are living in our communities, so it is important that care partners, families and communities have the tools to support them and understand their unique needs. That’s why this project with Eildon is an important step forward for the University of Stirling and for Eildon.” 

David added: “We hope that this project can be replicated by other housing associations and local authorities so that the stigma surrounding dementia continues to be broken down, and awareness of dementia continues to improve.” 

Amanda Miller, Director of Community Services at the Borders-based Eildon Housing Association, said: “Eildon is a fast-growing organisation with 3,000 homes and families. While we have good knowledge of dementia, we wanted to develop and embed best practice across all aspects of our service to be a dementia inclusive organisation. Our partnership with the University of Stirling means our teams will be providing the best person-centred support for people living with dementia. 

Amanda added: “Eildon will now adapt the training package to cascade learning across Eildon, including offering advice and support to family carers.” 

The collaboration has seen DSDC train 23 senior care staff across Eildon online and in-person. Topics included dementia and the brain, post-diagnostic support for people with dementia, meaningful connection and communication, and care planning. 

The training package was mapped alongside the Scottish Dementia Strategy 2023, which provides a 10-year vision for change to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and care partners.  

DSDC provides resources and training worldwide to organisations and individuals, including tools for making businesses more dementia inclusive.