The Salford Institute for Dementia and Ageing
The Salford Institute for Dementia and Ageing emerged from the goal of University of Salford colleagues to enable those faced with the challenges of dementia and their supporters to improve their lives in meaningful ways.
With a leadership team of experienced researchers from various disciplines and a panel of Dementia Associates - local individuals living with dementia or care partners - the Institute runs a range of programmes with a focus on the environment, technology, innovation, and creativity.
Public engagement is at the heart of the Institute, as they work with a range of stakeholders to showcase their innovative research, education, and practice in the field.
As we learnt to navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute's team recognised the importance of supporting their members to help them remain as socially engaged as possible.
They used a range of virtual means, including online meetings, and regular check-ins via email or phone, to ensure their members felt supported. To help everyone remain connected with one another, they also held several social events such as virtual quizzes and Christmas competitions, which were well received by all.
This Christmas is like no other
That we have ever known
The virus that is with us
Has grown and grown and grown
The cards have all been written
And there are lights upon the tree
The shops have all been opened
To buy presents for you and for me
No family round the table
Thank goodness we have zoom
It just the two of us with paper hats
But virtually you will be with us in the room
And then when Springtime comes along
And the virus has hopefully gone
The new life is beginning
And we will all move on
After over a year of virtual activities, the Salford Institute for Dementia and Ageing planned their first in-person event in June 2021 to the Royal Horticultural Society in Bridgewater, Salford.
All safety measures were followed during the visit, and the members were thrilled to see one another again as they explored the gardens and were treated to a surprise afternoon tea in the café to celebrate their first step back to normality.
Every year, the Salford Institute for Dementia and Ageing associates plan the garden surrounding the hub. In September 2021, after carefully weeding the garden, the associates visited a local garden centre to pick the seasonal flowers and bulbs they wished to plant in the garden, building upon the array of plants already thriving there. The process was a great team effort and is a wonderful opportunity for the associates to strengthen and support the autonomy of the group.
We are delighted that 2022 is the year the Institute was able to welcome the members back for more face-to-face activities, from the Living Library to fundraisers.
Spring 2022 saw the return of the Living Library, an opportunity for people living with dementia to share their experiences with others. Members are often joined by Salford students about to embark on placements in the community, providing them with the opportunity to gain a practical insight to people living well with dementia - this year, they were able to reach over 300 students.
Music in Hospitals & Care
Music in Hospitals & Care is a charity focused on improving health and wellbeing through the healing power of live music; professional musicians have shared live music with over 100,000 people across the UK who may not otherwise experience it, including those living with dementia or mental health problems and people who are seriously ill.
Through specially-designed music experiences, the audience are able to unlock all kinds of emotion, from joy and pleasure to loss and nostalgia. The aim of the charity is to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of people, to help them feel more connected to one another.
Concrete crafting was suggested by a member living with dementia, as it's something she discovered during lockdown. Her confidence was damaged during lockdown, but leading the sessions provided her with the opportunity to build it once again, with the support of the Community Engagement Officer. The sessions were received so well by the other members, that the Institute have continued to run them.
In October 2022, they held a joint fundraiser with the Alzheimer's Society to not only raise money but to connect with students, staff, and the local community, to raise awareness and encourage conversation around dementia and Alzheimer's.
The Salford Institute for Dementia is funded entirely by our generous donor community, including many of our alumni, friends, and the Haskel Family Foundation.
"From everyone associated with the Salford Institute for Dementia, we would like to express our gratitude for your invaluable support. Without this, the Institute would not be able to make such progress which is vital to achieving our goal of promoting the wellbeing and improving the lives of those living with dementia, both now and in the future."
Mali Pocsai, Community Engagement Officer
As they look to the future, they will continue to provide vital face-to-face engagement opportunities for their members, consult their Dementia Associates on new activities, and recruit new members.