“If I didn’t have coping strategies to remain independent and mobile I’d be very lonely and soon sink into depression. Travel brings normality to an often abnormal life”
Wendy Mitchell, recording a Dementia Diary
What we do and why
Getting out and about is an important part of living well and people affected by dementia have the right to full inclusion and participation in the community. Mobility and transport services play a key role in this. However, the sensory and cognitive challenges faced by people affected by dementia can make travel experiences daunting.
The ability of people affected by dementia to travel can be compromised as much by poorly designed transport systems as by their condition. Some travel challenges are due to staff having insufficient understanding and awareness of dementia. Others are due to products, services and environments that do not take into account the needs of people travelling with cognitive and sensory challenges.
If we are to all maintain independence and continue to do the things we need and love to do, then transport and related services need to learn, respond and develop in ways that are sensitive to the real-life experience of travelling with dementia.
We believe that sharing experiences and ideas is the most powerful way to learn from each other, so Upstream uses a framework for bringing people affected by dementia together with those providing mobility services:
Discover travel challenges
We work with people affected by dementia to discover and explore experiences of travelling
Build service provider awareness
We use these insights to inform training for transport service providers (who have their own experiences to contribute)
Work and learn together
Upstream brings people affected by dementia and staff together to meet, share, learn and experience a travel service together
We develop ideas and solutions that emerge, together
By developing and delivering training that is based on real-life experience, we can influence short term service improvement and longer-term future service design, developing solutions that truly respond to passenger needs and new standards for dementia-aware mobility services.
Where we work
Upstream is based in Scotland - much of our work is focused here but we're making friends and developing ideas across the UK and beyond...
In the Western Isles we're working 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 . Workshops are held with memory skills groups and carers groups to gather insights about travel in an area which, though close to Edinburgh, has many rural areas and related transport challenges. In Aberdeen, supported by the Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO) and Alzheimer Scotland we are working with people living with dementia exploring links with local transport operators and planners.
Who is Upstream
Andy Hyde leads Upstream, drawing on experience of working with Government, health and third sector community organisations across the UK to explore ways in which people can truly participate in the development of products and services that improve health and wellbeing.