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Erasmus visit to Norway heralds new dementia research collaboration

Date 15.05.2019

The University’s dementia research centre forged a new working relationship with a pioneering dementia school in Europe following a researcher’s recent visit*.

Alison Ward, researcher in the Faculty of Health and Society, has already collaborated on a number of dementia related research initiatives with peers in Denmark. She joined some of them for a visit to the University of Adger and Voksenskolen, a school for people with dementia in Grimstad, Norway.

The aim of this particular trip was to share knowledge of lifelong learning for people with dementia, a concept that started in Denmark and which is being run by the Aalborg Dementia School for Lifelong Learning (ADS).

Alison was joined by University College of Northern Denmark’s Diana Schack Thoft and Ann Sorenson and the team’s visit also helped kick-start an agreement to continue advancing collaborations on both the development of the school model and associated research. The trio are already analysing how tailored teaching and activity-based interventions can help people who have dementia, in the short and long-term.

Of the visit, Alison said: “This has been an exciting opportunity to see the Danish lifelong learning model used in Norway, and from its inception.

“We had very positive talks and have created a working group to develop a collaborative network and share good practice and learning so that we ensure we are supporting people with dementia in the best way possible.

“The potential for future work with the Norwegian and Danish teams is also a positive outcome of the visit and strengthened the existing relationships with Denmark and I believe will be the start of another positive relationship with Norway”.

The Norwegian school was set up in March 2019 and currently has three students but has already garnered much interest across Norway. During the visit, it was announced that the Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg would be visiting the school later in May to learn more about this innovative concept.

Alison and Diana presented on their current research project to measure the effect of being a student at the school, looking at issues of quality of life and cognition.

Find out more about the University of Northampton’s Dementia Research and Innovation Centre, which Alison is a member of.

*Alison’s visit was supported by the University’s Erasmus+ staff mobility fund.

Erasmus+ is a European Commission programme that provides funding for UK higher education students, recent graduates and staff to study, gain work experience, teach or train abroad.