Ann Pascoe is a dementia campaigner, carer, and founder of Dementia Friendly Communities - a social enterprise that helps families in rural Scotland to recognise and embrace the challenges of life with dementia.
When Ann’s husband, Andrew, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2006, she became his carer. Yet living in a remote region in the Highlands of Scotland, she received almost zero support. And with only limited understanding of the challenges facing the couple, she felt poorly equipped to help her husband continue to live a positive life. So she decided to take action.
Ann decided to establish a dementia friendly community – a new concept at that time - for her small village. And in 2011 she attended the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Toronto. It was here that she heard Dr Amit Dias talk about his strategy of using lay people to identify early symptoms of dementia and carer stress, specifically in rural societies. Ann identified closely with Dr Dias’ work, and she was determined to learn more.
The following year, Ann was awarded a two month Travelling Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. This enabled her to travel with her husband to India to see first-hand how Dr Dias’ care projects were relieving caregiver burden, promoting caregiver mental health, and alleviating behavioural challenges in dementia patients. When Ann returned to Scotland, she was ready to put her learning into practice.
Together with a few like-minded people, Ann founded Dementia Friendly Communities, a social enterprise whose aim is to help families affected by dementia to live life to the full.
Dementia Friendly Communities – or DFC – quickly attracted strong support from local people, helping to break down barriers and eliminate the stigma that so often accompanies dementia.
Other dementia-friendly communities have been established in a growing number of Scottish regions – in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, The Highlands, Lothian and the Western Isles. And DFC is now working to bring the existing Scottish Dementia Strategy down to grassroots level, making a real and lasting difference to individuals, families and local communities.
DFC has won widespread praise, and has succeeded in raising awareness of the challenges associated with dementia. Ann was invited to join the Prime Minister's rural dementia Task and Finish group, which has just been awarded a further two years of funding to develop a Rural Dementia Charter. DFC is also working in partnership with NHS Highland and Alzheimer Scotland, as one of five Scottish Government test sites to trial Scotland's Dementia Strategy.
Ann is an Advisor to the Life Changes Trust, a £50 million initiative set to transform the lives of two specific groups - young people who are in the process of leaving care, and people with dementia and their carers. And most recently, Ann has joined the NHS Highland Board as a non-executive director.
Ann has demonstrated remarkable commitment to supporting people facing challenge and disadvantage, something that is very close to our hearts here at Anglia Ruskin. Her work resonates strongly with our own teaching and research in dementia care, and also with our focus on the role of creativity and imagination – for example, in the use of music, art and dance in treating dementia.
Find out more:
Twitter - @a_carers_voice
Website - www.acarersvoice.com
The graduation ceremony will be taking place on Thursday 13 October 2016, at 11.00am at the Chelmsford campus. You will be able to watch all our ceremonies live, including this ceremony, on the following link: