New pioneering partnership to tackle dementia

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In front (left) Dr Ito, (right) Dr McCabe. Photo: University of Stirling

Stirling University has further strengthened its links with its Japanese partners by announcing a new pioneering partnership to tackle dementia.

The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), located in the Iris Murdoch Building on campus, has joined with Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology (TMGHIG) to bring together experts on dementia and dementia care.

The aim of the partnership is to create “dementia-friendly communities and promote social citizenship for people with dementia and their families. We aim to establish a society where people with dementia are supported to make choices about their own lives and to live well with dementia”, said Dr Louise McCabe of DSDC.

Japan has the second highest median age in the world, and with Scotland’s ageing populating the partnership is very timely.

Dr McCabe added: “Our research has helped improve the lives of people with dementia and their families in Scotland and beyond for many years. Japan has one of the most rapidly-ageing societies in the world and there’s lots to learn from one another.

“We share an important common vision to support people with dementia and their families to achieve a good quality of life, and look forward to working together to take strides forward in this area.”

The memorandum of understanding, which acted as a symbol of the new partnership, was signed by Senior Deputy Principle of Stirling University John Gardner, and Dr Hideki Ito, CEO of TMGHIG at a ceremony in Tokyo.

Also in attendance was Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, who said: “Dementia touches all our lives either directly or through our family and friends, and it is crucial that we look to meet the needs of people living with dementia, or are newly diagnosed with the condition.

“In Scotland, we continue to take a whole-system approach to improving services – it is really important that people are not discriminated against or disempowered because of the progress of their illness or their particular care circumstances.

“And here in Japan, I have been heartened to learn about the pioneering work being undertaken on dementia-friendly communities and discover we share some similar approaches.”

In Scotland, 93,000 people are living with dementia today, with 32,000 of them under the age of 65, according to Alzheimer’s Scotland. In Japan over 4.5 million people suffer from the degenerative disease.

The DSDC has worked for over 25 years, providing education on care for family members and staff, helping organisations integrate dementia care services, and produce publications and research in the field.

The DSDC is separate from the university, and so relies on charitable sources for a large portion of its income.

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