Stigma and changing relationships

As always there was a strong academic strand to UKDC and Dr Shirley Evans from our academic partner University of Worcester spoke about the continuing impact of the pandemic on people living with dementia, whose UK numbers are now forecast to be 1.7 million by 2040, an increase of 42% on previous estimates.

It meant that the work of the university’s Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), where Evans is director, would be vital with its commitment to multi-disciplinary research and the centrality of person-centred support.  ADS had pioneered the development of Meeting Centres across the UK, numbers of which had now reached 70 and which now formed part of Scotland’s latest dementia strategy.

ADS PhD students John Bosco Tumuhairwe and Jen Edgecombe presented their research respectively exploring stigma in Extra Care and the impact of changing older adult relationships on informal caring.

Tumuhairwe worked as an HIV prevention counsellor in Uganda and witnessed how people with HIV/AIDS were affected by stigma.  “I’m aware that stigma of any kind affects quality of life and lowers self-esteem,” he said.  “We know that there is stigma towards people living with dementia in Extra Care housing and that’s why I’m doing this research.”