Upstream works with people affected by dementia to improve mobility services
Getting out and about and being involved in community life is an important part of living well with dementia and mobility service providers play a key role in this. However, the challenges faced by people affected by dementia mean that they may find travel daunting. Dementia affects so much more than memory and travel can be noisy, busy and disorienting.
If the growing number of people living with dementia are to maintain their independence then transport and related services need to respond and develop in ways that are informed by real-life experience. Upstream is working with people with dementia across Scotland to discover and share their experiences of travel. Our aim is to put the voice of people with dementia at the heart of future mobility service design by developing training for mobility service providers and creating spaces for everyone to participate and contribute to the conversation.
Working with Life Changes Trust projects in East Lothian, Aberdeen and the Western Isles, we're developing local contacts with transport operators and dementia support organisations. We meet with existing dementia support groups and use our workshop format to facilitate friendly conversations around travel, transport and generally getting out and about. We're collecting the insights from these gatherings and using them to develop different types of training.
In the Western Isles we're working closely with the Dementia Friendly Community project at An Lanntair along with Alzheimer Scotland, regularly visiting various groups in Stornoway and more remote locations to learn about the challenges of island transport, with a particular focus on sea and air links.
In East Lothian we have strong links with Dementia Friendly East Lothian and the North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership, incorporating the Older People's Network. Workshops are being held with memory skills groups and day centres to gather insights about travel in an area which, though close to Edinburgh, has many rural areas and related transport challenges.
Supported by the Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO) and Alzheimer Scotland we are working with people living with dementia in Aberdeen City and exploring links with local transport operators and planners.
Our best hopes are to:
- develop an empowered community of people affected by dementia who influence and shape the development of truly dementia-friendly services
- help mobility service providers to become more dementia-aware and provide better, more responsive services
- create new standards for training
This is our starting point but we're working with people affected by dementia to decide the best outcomes.
And ultimately, if mobility services are more dementia-friendly, they're better for all of us.