Making connections


For all its downsides, Twitter is a great medium for instant connection and sharing. Before last Thursday I hadn't heard about Tommy Dunne's work in Liverpool. But after the #DiverseAlz chat on twitter about transport and dementia I knew a lot more, had chatted with him by email and seen this wonderful video he'd helped to make.

If you've ever been part of a tweet chat you'll know that sometimes it goes a little out of synch, people join, others leave ... some of us are still talking about question 2 when the conversation has moved onto question 4 etc... but it can surface useful insights and, as I say, make great connections.

I've looked back at the chat and gathered some of the tweets using Storify so you can see the timeline and the various points that were made.  The key message that I took from the discussion was that, not surprisingly, barriers to transport are a real issue for people living with dementia:

  • if a person has been used to travelling alone then barriers to transport can be be a 'tremendous sense of loss of control over own life'
  • lack of transport can mean a loss of freedom, lack of choice and social isolation
  • not being able to access groups and organisations
  • people living in rural areas are particularly affected
  • unreliable public transport can affect attending appointments and taxis are seen as an expensive option
  • even on the New York subway there are many inaccessible stations which demands a lot of route planning 
  • practicalities such as poor signage, unclear announcements and door timers can make travel difficult 
  • difficulties arise when moving from one transport mode to another
  • losing a driving licence is a big, emotional issue.

Tommy's contributions particularly struck a note with me as he was talking about the importance of training beyond awareness and here he talks about improving the experience of travelling.   

This is what Upstream is aiming to do - yes, raise awareness with transport operators but, more importantly, explore with them how the travel experience can be improved by working with people living with dementia.