Our 'Year of Action on Dementia'

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A man laughing as a smiling lady in uniform touches his arm. Image courtesy of Pete Carr Liverpool’s Year of Action on Dementia 2013 (YAD) has certainly been action-packed with lots of progress in terms of raising awareness of the condition, but there is still more to be done. Many organisations, including National Museums Liverpool, have committed to the Dementia Action Alliance and will continue to work together in 2014 to drive the changes that are needed. So, with the G8 summit on dementia currently taking place in London, what has National Museums Liverpool achieved through the House of Memories dementia awareness programme this year? Since the Year of Action on Dementia launch last January, the House of Memories team has been busy spreading the word at conferences and events in Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Leeds, Chester, Birmingham and even Oslo in Norway. It has been part of local initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness Day, Winter Survival, Liverpool Carers’ Week, Older Men’s Health conference, and events with an international focus such as Innovate Dementia’s Transnational Symposium and the Museums Association conference. In addition to our training programme at the Museum of Liverpool, we worked with museums and galleries in Salford, Bury and Sunderland to deliver training based on their collections. We also developed a bespoke training programme for the housing sector working with partners on Merseyside. In the summer, the programme won a Health Education North West award, and a debate on House of Memories was tabled by Steve Rotheram MP in Westminster Hall. We were also invited to Downing Street to contribute to a G8 planning meeting ahead of this week’s summit. At the Museum of Liverpool, our memory walks and memory suitcase loan service continued to offer a resource for carers and those living with dementia. The Mi smarthouse was also installed at the Museum, to showcase technology that can assist with independent living. Other highlights included Dementia Awareness Week with a visit from Lord Mayor, the Alzheimer’s Society bus, the launch of Melvyn Bragg’s book, a theatre performance called ‘Grandma Remember Me?’, and of course our House of Memories' celebration day. With all of this news to report, we also started up a House of Memories twitter stream and e-newsletter - do sign up if you would like to follow us in 2014 as we embark on another action-packed year. Plans already afoot include training dates in the Midlands, new sessions for the housing sector and the launch of a digital app which we are currently creating with input from people living with dementia.