E-book showcases that life goes on after a dementia diagnosis

By Press Office

'Occupation Matters to Me', an e-book showcasing stories and photographs from the extraordinary ordinary lives of people living with dementia was launched on Monday 24 February.

The e-book launch was part of the ‘Connecting People, Connecting Support in Action’ report – which  reviews how the allied health professions have and continue to support people living with dementia in Scotland – event held at the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at the University of West of Scotland on Monday 24 January.

Produced by the Scottish Dementia Working Group with the help of eight Queen Margaret University (QMU) Occupational Therapy interns and one Event Management volunteer, the e-book project has been underway since 2016. It aims to help reduce stigma around the condition by showing how people living with dementia can still do so much.

QMU Head of Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies, Professor Brendan McCormack said despite growing awareness about dementia and the potential for people living with dementia to continue to live well, the public discourse around dementia is often negative. Unfortunately, this negativity can discredit the fruitful lives many people living with dementia lead and their continued contribution to families, communities and societies.

“I hope that this e-book serves as a benchmark for other similar projects and innovations to shape a more positive discourse about living with dementia, and I encourage you to engage with it,” Prof McCormack said.

QMU Occupational Therapy Senior Lecturer and one of the e-book project leaders, Doctor Fiona Maclean said people living with dementia make important contributions to all parts of society and this needs to be recognised, profiled and celebrated. I believe it is a key to enabling those living with dementia to retain and regain control, purpose and fulfilment from their daily lives, just like we all do.

“This approach is at the heart of the education and research programmes we provide in occupational therapy, arts therapies and nursing here at QMU.

“We’re very proud of our students’ – whose internships were supported by Santander Universities UK – contribution to this project,” Dr Maclean said.

Danielle Timmons, one of the interns who worked with Scottish Dementia Working Group on this project, said the experience reinforced that while a dementia diagnosis is something the group members have in common, they each have unique skills and interests.

“Promoting independence and participation in meaningful occupations is central to the occupational therapy profession. It was a pleasure to work alongside the members to support the publication of this e-book,” Ms Timmons said.

Elaine Hunter from Alzheimer Scotland said it was a real privilege to work with Queen Margaret University’s Occupational Therapy interns and the Scottish Dementia Working Group on this project.

"The photographs included in this e-book offer a unique and personal insight into the lives of seven people living with dementia and the occupations that are important to them in sustaining their connection with families, friends and communities,” Ms Hunter said.

Download a copy of the 'Occupation Matters to Me' e-book (external PDF).

Notes to Editor

For further media enquiries, please contact Amy McGregor-Dainton (Interim Media Relations and Content Officer) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh on amcgregor-dainton@qmu.ac.uk   

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