Learning from Living with Dementia

‘Learning from Living with Dementia’ – winner of Best Dementia Training Initiative at the 10th National Dementia Care Awards 2019 – is a dementia awareness training day with a big difference. It’s both co-produced and co-delivered by people living with dementia. It was created jointly by Buz Loveday of DementiaTrainers and Stockport EDUCATE, the Early Dementia Users Co-operative, Aiming To Educate.  EDUCATE was one of the first groups set up specifically to enable people with dementia to contribute to the education of professionals and carers.


The training day is based around extensive oral testimony and demonstrations by people living with dementia.  These have been filmed and embedded into a course that also includes activities for learners to reinforce the learning and enable them to put it into practice. The course was co-produced, from inception to completion, with people living with dementia.

The course covers all the Dementia Awareness learning outcomes of the Dementia Training Standards Framework (Skills for Health, Health Education England and Skills for Care) and therefore provides the required basic level of content (Tier 1) for all working in health and social care.  But more than this:  it also generates a deeper level of understanding and empathy that can only be provided by people who live with dementia, as experts by experience.


Every topic addressed on the course is taught or reinforced, through the medium of video, by people living with dementia.  Each common symptom of dementia is explained from a first-hand perspective, including some powerful demonstrations of the difficulties that the symptoms cause.  People with dementia share their own coping strategies and advice about how others can best meet their care needs through an enabling approach; they explain the importance of understanding their life histories and their strengths and abilities, describing how they make use of these; they explain their communication needs and how others can best help them understand and express themselves.  And importantly, people with dementia share their feelings – both about the emotional impact of dementia and also the distress that can be caused by disrespectful attitudes from others, and they talk about the things that contribute to their well-being.


With these testimonies and demonstrations forming the backbone of the training, a range of interactive activities are interspersed to enable learners to reflect on what they have heard and seen and relate it to their own practice.  Experiential exercises are used to reinforce learning, raise awareness of individual differences and create empathic understanding.  And through focused discussions and small group planning sessions, learners generate ideas about practical strategies they can use within their own work to address the needs of people with dementia they support.  The videos and activities are linked together by a set of slides and handouts that reinforce key learning points and provide additional information and evidence to back them up.


Learning from Living with Dementia was launched at the UK Dementia Congress 2019 and is now available to be delivered directly to staff teams by the DementiaTrainers team.  It can also be accessed through a 2-day Train the Trainer programme, which is appropriate for anyone who wishes to deliver dementia awareness training to health or social care staff.  Each participant on the Learning from Living with Dementia Train the Trainer course will come away with a complete set of the resources for delivering the course, including the slideshow with embedded video clips, trainer’s guidelines and handouts.


The Learning from Living with Dementia Train the Trainer course is available to be commissioned to run in-house for groups of up to 12 participants and is also available as an open course led by Buz Loveday, the Director and Lead Trainer of DementiaTrainers.


Open courses are running at different locations on the following dates:

London – 13th & 14th February 2020

Leeds – 2nd & 3rd March 2020

Birmingham – 14th & 15th May 2020

For further information, see http://bit.ly/37rN7GO or contact buzloveday@googlemail.com


Comments from those who have attended the course:

‘The video representation of people with dementia is a powerful tool and excellent way of demonstrating their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Wonderful interactive material.’

‘The course is led by the people living with dementia and puts their unique experiences first’

‘It has really refocused me regarding patient centred care…It’s very powerful hearing from people living with dementia. There is a good range of activities and discussions.’

‘Excellent variety of tools to engage different audiences and learning styles. Using experiences of people living with dementia is key to really understanding issues both positive and negative in a clear concise way. Different ages, sexes and abilities also assist with getting messages across. Encouraging people to think differently about people living with dementia.’

‘I found the training incredibly valuable, and gave a real insight into the experiences of people with dementia. The various activities were thought-provoking, and led to interesting discussions between those present.  Especially valuable were the videos interspersed throughout the day from the EDUCATE group, again giving interesting comparisons between the individual and differing experiences of dementia.’

‘I feel that this training is ideal as it encourage people to think laterally, puts you in the position of the person living with dementia, and I believe could be a very good tool in improving all aspects of dementia care.’

‘As a healthcare professional, I have been on a variety of Dementia training, but never one like the ‘Learning from Living with Dementia’ course. The course for me was more poignant. Listening to people who have Dementia, in their own words, talk about their passions, interests and the challenges they face made the training more meaningful.’

‘The course was very much about looking at the person not to the diagnosis. This gave the course another level. It’s remarkable that such valuable and informative training can be delivered in just one day.’

© National Dementia Action Alliance 2020. All rights reserved

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