Willie CruikshankA new free online resource offering information, guides and training for carers, families and professionals caring for people with dementia has been launched in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The website, called The Learning Location, was developed by the Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance in response to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, which was launched last year.

The Learning Location service will support a range of communities by:

• Helping health and care professionals access the best training: The Learning Location uses factors such as an individual’s place of work, experience and previous qualifications to filter the most appropriate training for them. As well as signposting to online learning resources, The Learning Location also suggests appropriate face-to-face training opportunities  
• Signposting carers to the most appropriate training: the Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance team has created a single point of contact for carers to access the best and most appropriate learning. It allows carers to meet ‘virtual characters’, enabling them to assess their competence and confidence. The Learning Location also filters the most relevant learning for each carer’s specific role and experience
• Raising dementia awareness in the business community: To address the lack of dementia awareness in the business community a number of virtual scenarios have been produced to tackle workplace issues. Interactive experiential learning tools provide real life guidance for everyone in the workplace, shops and the high street. Using practical examples, scenario techniques with visual aids enhances the overall experience and understanding of people living with dementia. To watch a sample clip visit http://bit.ly/14vFwUR

Dementia challenges

Willie Cruickshank (pictured), director at Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance, said: “Recent reports have highlighted the challenges faced by those delivering care to people with dementia and we wanted to make the process of obtaining, sharing information and accessing the most appropriate learning resources far easier.

“Our website has been designed to not only assist carers, but also to help employers become more dementia aware by helping them to access to the right information in a user-friendly format.  Unfortunately, as a result of widespread ignorance and misunderstanding, there is still a lot of stigma associated with dementia and other mental health conditions. Dementia can happen to any of us and latest figures suggest that, due to improvements in life expectancy, 1 in 3 of us will die with the condition.

“A recent Alzheimer’s Society report revealed that 80% of people living in residential and nursing care homes have dementia; however, the vast majority of people with dementia live in the community. [Additionally,] 60% are without a formal clinical diagnosis, but due to their cognitive decline, functioning in a society that is ‘dementia unaware’ is extremely challenging and very stressful for those affected by it. Consequently, more needs to be done to enable carers to look after a loved one with dementia and address the widespread lack of dementia awareness in the community.”


For further information, go to: www.learning-location.com/dementia-care