Mental-ill-health-at-workThe Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance launches ‘Learning Location’ to help individuals and organisations who provide care for people with dementia gain access to essential information and most appropriate training in a single place.

Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance announces a new free online resource to meet the challenge of delivering excellent care and support to people with dementia. The website called The Learning Location is open to individual carers, families, professional staff and organisations looking for relevant information, guides and training support. This initiative was developed as a result of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, which was launched last year.

By 2030, there will be 15 million people over the age of 65 in the UK. After a century of advances in medical science, sanitation and nutrition, people today are living longer than ever before. One in three people over the age of 65 will develop Dementia.

Willie Cruickshank, Director at Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance, explains, “Recent reports have highlighted the challenges faced by those delivering care to people with dementia and we wanted to make the process of obtaining, sharing information and accessing the most appropriate learning resources far easier. Our website has been designed to not only assist carers, but also to help employers become more dementia aware by helping them to access to the right information in a user-friendly format. Unfortunately, as a result of widespread ignorance and misunderstanding, there is still a lot of stigma associated with dementia – and other mental health conditions. Dementia can happen to any of us and latest figures suggesting that, due to improvements in life expectancy, one in three of us will die with the condition. We have partnered with leading dementia training experts to provide innovative scenario based tools to inform and educate all of us about how to make life better for those people living with dementia. Developed locally this free tool has truly global relevance – and is certainly not just restricted to those living in Norfolk & Suffolk”.

The Learning Location service will support a wide range of communities by:

• Helping health and care professionals access the best training: Recognising that everybody’s learning needs are different, The Learning Location uses factors such as an individual’s place of work, experience level and previous qualifications to filter the most appropriate training for them. As well as signposting to high quality on-line learning resources, The Learning Location also suggests appropriate live face-to-face training opportunities provided by experts in the Further and Higher Education sectors.
• Signposting carers to the most appropriate training for them: Recognising that training is a vital part of the solution the Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance team has created a single point of contact for carers to access the best and most appropriate learning. It allows carers to meet ‘virtual characters’, enabling them to assess their competence and confidence. Removing the need to scour the internet for resources. The Learning Location also filters the most relevant learning for each carer’s specific role and experience level.
• Raising Dementia awareness in the business community: To address the alarming lack of dementia awareness in the business community a number of virtual scenarios have been sensitively produced to tackle workplace issues. Interactive experiential learning tools provide real life guidance for everyone, in the workplace, shops and the high street. Using practical examples, scenario techniques with visual aids enhances the overall experience and understanding of people living with dementia. To watch a sample clip visit

In March 2012, Prime Minister, David Cameron pledged to deliver major improvements in dementia care and research has highlighted the enormous problem facing the UK. 670,000 people with dementia live in England and that figure is expected to double in the next 30 years. Yet only 40 per cent of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis and, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, two-thirds of all people with dementia are cared for in the community.

Leading actor Martin Shaw draws on his own personal experience to explain the need for this single point of contact and vital access to training and learning resources in Dementia Care, “My mother died with Alzheimer’s – and this type of resource would have provided my family with much needed support. There is a real need for a centralized pool of information, training and learning resources in Dementia Care. What’s reassuring it that the tools available on The Learning Location have been developed by experts to give guidance and confidence for those trying to support friends, family or colleagues living with Dementia.”

Cruickshank adds, “A recent Alzheimer’s Society report revealed that 80 percent of people living in residential and nursing care homes have dementia; however, the vast majority of people with dementia live in the community. 60 percent are without a formal clinical diagnosis, but due to their cognitive decline, functioning in a society that is ‘dementia unaware’ is extremely challenging and very stressful for those affected by it. Consequently, more needs to be done to enable carers to look after a loved one with dementia and address the widespread lack of dementia awareness in the community. Today’s announcement looks to inform, educate and support a Dementia friendly community.”

For further information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @NandSDementia.