Age UK Sheffield Wellbeing Centre worker exploring best dementia services in the world

A fact finding trip to Canada and Japan awaits a dedicated Sheffield dementia day centre worker

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 2:14 pm
Becca Ling at work in The Age UK Sheffield Wellbeing Centre

Becca Ling will go on a trip of a lifetime, after she won a Fellowship to visit the two countries.

Becca Ling, from Age UK Sheffield’s Wellbeing Centre, was one of just 150 successful applicants out of 1,800 who sought a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. She’ll spend six weeks in May and June exploring the best dementia day service provision in the Far East and North America, bringing her learning and ideas back to Sheffield.

Becca said: “I received a letter from the Trust a few days earlier than I expected and so the letter was waiting for me after work - it took some time to build up the courage to open it but I was also relieved it had arrived”

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“I was overjoyed and felt such excitement - I knew it was the start of an incredible learning experience and adventure! The application process started in September so it felt like the hard work had really paid off.”

Becca is keen to learn more about how other countries approach and run their dementia day services and how they provide support for carers.

In particular Becca is hoping to gain insight into how services connect together following a person’s dementia diagnosis, especially for those people and families that may feel reluctant to ask for help or support.

Becca’s trip will take her to visit experts and projects to learn about different types of activities and groups, how they support carers, and how to engage people after a diagnosis of dementia – especially those who are “hard to reach”.

Age UK Sheffield’s Wellbeing Centre already provides a person-centred approach, based on what people can do. She explains: “Our days are always full of activities. Whether it’s creative arts, nature walks, games or baking, we create an environment for people to feel a sense of belonging, to be mentally and physically active and to socialise in a safe and friendly space. It’s about increasing people’s confidence and sense of purpose.”

Becca will use her trip to Japan and Canada to gain new ideas and insight, particularly looking into the types of activities and groups their dementia day centres run, the carer support they offer, how these services engage with people after diagnosis – especially those “hard to reach” people. Becca will be spending three weeks in each country, starting in Japan in May and then heading off to Canada in autumn.

The day centre worker has worked at the Wellbeing Centre, which is based in Norfolk Park, for three years after studying Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Sheffield.

The Fellowship application started in September and took six months to complete. Becca is particularly excited about the Japanese leg of her visit.

She said: “Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world,” she said. “In 2015 Japan launched its orange plan, specifically aimed at tackling the approach to improving dementia care across the country. They are now a world leader in dementia care, and I’m excited about visiting Uji City. It is the first dementia-friendly community with an ethos that ‘the earlier people are included in a care network, the better and longer they live in the community’.” Becca returns to Sheffield in the summer and has pledged to spread the word throughout the dementia community and national Age UK network. For details about Age UK Sheffield’s Wellbeing Centre, call 0114 250 2850, or e-mail: [email protected]