Education

Researchers share expertise on dementia friendly communities

Global Challenges team takes part in UK program to help students build dementia friendly communities.

University of Wollongong researchers with expertise in creating dementia friendly communities are sharing their knowledge with almost 150 students from across the world who are taking part in a summer program in the United Kingdom.

The UOW Global Challenges Keystone research team ‘Connections for Life with Dementia’ is helping to build the capacity of the students to develop projects that will support the creation of dementia friendly communities in a town-centre development in London.

The summer program is hosted by TEDI-London, a new design-led engineering school.

Associate Professor Lyn Phillipson, Lead Investigator of the UOW Global Challenges Dementia Keystone, said the collaboration was an important piece of knowledge exchange work locally and globally.

“One of the primary goals of our research has been to share our learnings along the way with key audiences that are motivated to improve environments for people living with dementia,” she said.

“The summer school represents an important opportunity to build student capacity to design solutions that will make a difference globally to people with dementia.

User-centred design has been an important part of the program of webinars and masterclasses delivered by the UOW team.

Students have collaborated with people with dementia and their carers to create products and services that work for them. This is critical to ensure that engineers of the future understand the power of design to promote social inclusion.

“The feedback has been really encouraging and the opportunity for students to engage with the UOW team has been invaluable,” Professor Phillipson said.

“It has provided them not only with a new way of thinking about design but also an opportunity to learn from an interdisciplinary team of experts who are actively engaged in transforming environments to make their communities more ‘dementia friendly’.”

The Dean and CEO of TEDI-London, Professor Judy Raper, said the summer program was aimed at piloting the types of projects students will undertake as they progress through the TEDI-London degree program when it launches in September 2021.

“We invited the UOW ‘Connections for Life with Dementia’ team to be part of the summer session due to its unique program of research supporting the creation of dementia friendly communities,” Professor Raper said.

One of the program’s outcomes is to help create a dementia friendly community in Canada Water, London.

Fifteen teams of students will compete for the £15,000 prize to develop the most innovative solution for regenerating the urban space to reflect the needs of an ageing population.

“I have followed the great work of the UOW research team for many years. Their research is among the best in the world in connecting the social aspects of living with dementia and the environment,” Professor Raper said.

The ‘Connections for Life with Dementia’ Keystone is funded by the UOW Global Challenges program. Find out more at  www.uow.edu.au/global-challenges/living-well-longer/pieces/

Subscribe for updates