Age UK dementia care worker from Sheffield to learn good practices from Japan and Canada

A dementia care worker from Sheffield will be travelling to Japan and Canada this summer to explore the best dementia day service provision in the Far East and North America.

Becca Ling, a Social Policy and Sociology graduate from the University of Sheffield and a care worker at Age UK Sheffield’s Wellbeing Centre of three years, is one of the only 150 successful applicants who have received a fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust this year.

Becca Ling with two members of the Age UK Sheffield Wellbeing Centre

She went through a six-month application process and competed with 1,800 other applicants to win this fully-funded trip which will let her gain new ideas and insights on what are some of the best practices in providing support to people diagnosed with dementia in day care centres.

“I received a letter from the Trust a few days earlier than I expected,” Becca recalls. “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.”

Later this month Becca will be off to Japan for three weeks, where she is particularly excited to visit Uji City.

The city has been established as the first dementia-friendly community with the ethos that “the earlier people are included in a care network, the better and longer they live in the community.”

She will also be visiting Canada later in June before coming back to Sheffield to continue her work at the Wellbeing Centre here.

“I am really interested in how other countries are addressing the issue of an ageing population and how they support people living with dementia,” Becca said.

Outdoor activities are a priority of Age UK Sheffield and important to the wellbeing of the Centre’s members

On returning from her trip, Becca has promised to share her new knowledge and experience to improve dementia care not only in Sheffield but across the UK.

“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 fortunate to work with families who have expressed a real interest in my trip. I plan on having conversations with carers and our members in order to get their feedback on my findings and what they view as important and think could work here.”

From her trip Becca is in particular hoping to gain insight on what the best approach towards people who have just recently been diagnosed with dementia is, especially for those who are reluctant to seek professional support.

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