I am thrilled to have joined the team at Lifted! I shall be working as ‘Dementia Adviser’, providing support and guidance to the Lifted community, disseminating information, promoting best practice and publishing regular updates on policy and research developments.

Each week I shall be writing a blog for Lifted, encouraging debate about topical issues, providing advice for families and sharing insights from people living with dementia and carers. I shall be available to answer questions on the ‘Dementia Hub’, by email or phone, and via the Facebook Dementia Support Group.

I share Rachael’s passion for improving the experience of care for people with dementia and families, encouraging meaningful engagement, prompting joyful moments, supporting people to live peacefully in the toughest of times. I look forward to supporting the mission of Lifted to transform home care to ensure that no one feels isolated on their care journey and people with dementia are treated with compassion and kindness.

I have worked extensively in the field of dementia care, for the Alzheimer’s Society, as CEO of Dementia UK (for 14 years) and as co-founder of Dementia Pathfinders, a not-for-profit social enterprise providing learning opportunities, resources and services for people affected by dementia.

I hope that the skills and expertise that I have to offer will be helpful to the Lifted community. As a dementia trainer and relationship counsellor, I can offer insights into the many challenges and difficulties families face when coping with this life-changing diagnosis.

The progressive nature of dementia means that carers experience multiple losses and constant changes in family relationships. I understand and have empathy with this emotionally demanding type of grief. Talking about feelings really does help.
I have experience of a range of evidence-based approaches to dementia care including Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, Montessori Approach to Dementia, Validation Therapy, Person-Centred Planning and Life Story work.

I understand and have empathy with this emotionally demanding type of grief. Talking about feelings really does help.

My involvement with dementia began more than 30 years ago when my father-in-law became unwell and was later diagnosed with vascular dementia. Coming to terms with his unpredictable and perplexing behaviour, at a time when there was limited awareness of dementia and services were scant, took an emotional toll on our family.

Many years later, my own father developed dementia. He had other conditions too, which made his care needs complex. We supported my Dad to continue living independently, doing everything that he had always found to be enjoyable and meaningful. Even when his memory was significantly diminished, he was still able to catch the local bus to the post office and supermarket and attend appointments at the doctors’ surgery without too much difficulty. He always found his way home, assisted by friendly people in the neighbourhood who knew him and had some understanding of his problems.

Dementia services are well developed nowadays and there is widespread awareness and much better understanding of dementia. The contrast between our experiences with my father-in-law in the 1980s and the support available to my Dad in 2020 is significant. But it is clear from the experiences of people living with dementia and family carers – articulated in our support group, in the media and elsewhere – that there are many shortfalls in the health and care system, and barriers that stand in the way of people with dementia receiving person-centred timely support.

 

Lifted is committed to making a difference to your experience of care. Please do get in touch to find out how we can help you.
Barbara has extensive professional experience in the dementia field, having worked for the Alzheimer’s Society and as CEO of Dementia UK. She is co-founder of Dementia Pathfinders, Honorary Treasurer of Resonate Arts and Board member of the specialist dementia holiday company ‘Mind for You’.

As Dementia Adviser with Lifted, Barbara writes a weekly blog, moderates the Lifted Dementia Support Group, provides answers to questions on the Lifted Dementia Hub and contributes her expertise in other ways across all dimensions of the company. Barbara can be contacted at barbara@liftedcare.com

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