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Our Wellbeing Centre Lead is travelling to Japan & Canada

Published on 26 April 2019 01:49 PM

We are an incredibly proud team here at Age UK Sheffield because Becca Ling, our Age UK Sheffield Wellbeing Centre Lead, has been selected for a Churchill Fellowship to travel to Canada and Japan to learn about new ways to improve dementia care centres and support carers.

This amazing opportunity has been made possible thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust who have granted Becca a fellowship and therefore the funding to visit experts, projects and programmes in Japan and China in order 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.

Becca has worked at the Wellbeing Centre which is based in Norfolk Park for three years after studying Social Policy & Sociology at the University of Sheffield.

Becca and the Wellbeing Centre team aim to create an environment for members to feel a sense of belonging, to be mentally and physically active and to socialise in a safe and friendly space. Whether it’s creative arts activities, nature walks, games or baking, it’s about increasing member’s confidence and sense of purpose.

Becca was one of just 150 successful applicants out of 1,800 and so was absolutely thrilled when she found out her application was successful.

“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”

“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.

In Japan, Becca explains, day centres are more so seen as the norm. It’s fascinating how all societies face similar problems in terms of dementia care, and learning how different communities approach and solve these problems can provide incredibly valuable insight, especially when learning can be shared so that improvements and new approaches can be trialled not only in different areas but internationally too.

Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, and with a globally ageing and growing population, dementia care must become more of a priority. In 2015 Japan launched its orange plan, specifically aimed at tackling the approach to improving dementia care across the country.
Japan is now a world leader in dementia care, and that’s why it’s first on the list for Becca’s travels. In particular, Becca says she is excited to visit Uji City, the first dementia friendly community which has the ethos that "The earlier people are included in a care network, the better and longer they lived in the community”. As a result they have a range of projects and initiatives to assist people to live well.

“I will write up my findings and recommendations. I’ll be sharing my ideas with Age UK and looking at what ideas could be beneficial for Age UK Sheffield Wellbeing Centre and for our carers. I’m also keen to share my report with other colleagues in the sector.”

We are so excited for Becca and this incredible opportunity to learn about and share amazing international work that will help us to support more people affected by dementia in Sheffield and the UK.

If you’d like to find out more about our Wellbeing centre, you can visit our page, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter!