Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) goes from strength to strength and aims to build stronger links with housing

Sarah Tilsed
Engagement Officer, Dementia Action Alliance for the Dementia and Housing Working Group (D&HWG)

I have been working for the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) virtually since its inception and therefore have been part of all of the challenges and achievements but also been able to watch it grow from strength to strength.

Formed in 2010, there was a shared agreement from the original members that organisations would sign up on the basis that they were committing to the National Dementia Declaration (NDD), what is commonly now known as the 'I statements'. These statements include "I live in an enabling and supportive environment where I feel valued and understood" and "I know that services are designed around me and my needs". 41 national members originally signed the NDD and this number has now increased to 135 national members... and 4550 local members! These members each create an action plan pledging what their organisation will commit to, to support the lives of people affected by dementia. These can range from producing a report on dementia, ensuring that staff have had dementia awareness training, or even designing and building a new care home for people with dementia.

Reaching out to all communities

My role is to engage with the DAA's national members, who include Royal Colleges, charities, Government departments, care providers and pharmaceutical companies to name a few. This includes running regular thematic events, which have included looking at LGBT and BAME communities, legal and human rights, devolution, and safeguarding. We choose themes that are applicable to all of our members, for example if devolution gets rolled out further than Greater Manchester and the other pilot areas, then most members are going to be affected by potential cuts or increased responsibility over their remit. Every member without a doubt communicates with people from BAME and LGBT communities and this doesn't stop once a person is diagnosed with dementia; it is often forgotten that these communities sometimes need specific considerations.

I send out a monthly newsletter with a reach of around 3,500 that gives members the opportunity to send through blogs, promote their newest care home, or read a Q&A session with one of our members. I am in the process of reintroducing our webinar system, where any member can present and I ran a successful one recently with The ExtraCare Charitable Trust on personalising care plans in housing with care.

We run annual campaigns, which have looked at the use of language around dementia, supporting carers, decreasing the inappropriate use of antipsychotics, and creating dementia friendly hospitals. All of our members are invited to get involved with these calls to actions of ours.

Reviving the DAA's Housing Call to Action

We wish to revive the DAA's Housing Call to Action, which was created a number of years ago jointly with the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN), which aimed to encourage housing providers and associated organisations to join the Dementia Action Alliance by committing to the National Dementia Declaration (which includes "I have access to adequate resources {private and public} that enable me to choose where and how I live").

The housing sector can - and already does - play an important part in supporting people with dementia to live well and independently, and creating dementia-friendly communities.

By joining either as a national member or as part of your local DAA, you will gain access to partnerships, networks and expertise that will enable you to improve your services and develop new ones for people living with dementia. Doing so would also serve as a reminder to organisations in the social and health care sectors not to overlook the housing sector when planning services at an individual or community level for people with dementia.

For more information on the DAA and how to sign up go to the DAA's website (opens new window) or email the National Secretariat (opens new window).


Add your comment

Leave this field empty