Research Talk at Durham University

Yesterday it was nice to be invited to travel north to speak. Durham University had asked me to speak at their campus in Stockton. I was sharing the slot with Aileen Henderson – clinical research nurse – who was on her home territory. It was a nice change to travel north instead of South!

I was met at Thornaby station by Lisa Webster (never got your title Lisa but you’re someone very important!!). It was such a cold day that I was glad to get a cuppa to warm up my hands when we got to the uni. Her mum was also going to be listening to the talk – she is a former carer and works tirelessly from the carers perspective. Val, their indispensable administrator soon came in and sorted me out with my expenses which is always . Aileen arrived soon after and we had a quick chat about our plan. We had an hour and to fill so I’d changed some of my speech from Monday to hopefully evoke discussion. The group was made up of people from all areas – research, mental health, service users and clinicians – they hold sessions each month on a different topic and try and include as many people from users, to clinicians to academics so a nice mix.

Me and Aileen
Me and Aileen

The speech went down well. I spoke about research needing to become the norm for patients as we can’t move forward without research and research can’t move forward without willing volunteers.if we could encourage ‘involvement’ rather than research I believe patients would more readily take part as it would make them feel valued and that they were making a contribution for their children or future generations. Aileen did a brilliant job after me and included some of Jo’s speech from Monday as Jo couldn’t make it.
There was lots of discussion afterwards on technology. I spoke about my Fitbit and the developments being made in technology and explained how the next generation would automatically assume such technology existed so not to develop now, while we’re waiting for the elusive cure would be short sighted.There was so much technology out there that could be adapted to be help people with dementia. We spoke of dementia friendly towns and how hopefully, one day we would just have ‘people’ friendly places. I told them about how Tommy Dunne was testing the first ‘slow lane’ in Tesco in Chester next Monday as supermarkets often pose a problem for vulnerable people; how ‘contact less bank cards’ made it easier for those who couldn’t remember numbers and how Banks had now become more aware of the need to support vulnerable people. Lots of good things are coming out of all the awareness being raised that it can only be a good thing but still lots to do.

One of Aileen’s colleagues kindly tweeted about the talk to spread the news further afield. We even persuaded Lisa to join Twitter as a way of spreading the news about what she and her team do as so much valuable work is being done at the uni – people need to hear about it! What really came out of the question and answer session is the post code lottery for whether research is offered to you in an area. Aileen and her team and in other parts of the area actively promote research – might have to move……….
Sarah Daniels appeared – she was the first person I did a JDR talk with in Wakefield, what seems like years ago but is only a few months back. She’s now in a new job so it was lovely to see her. After the talk she told people she was adopting the #whywedoresearch poster just as we saw on Monday – so Twitter had spread the word again!

Once again, I had such a good time and met some wonderful people so another well spent afternoon………….


View from the Uni - I'd never get any work done as I'd be watching the activity on the water!
View from the Uni – I’d never get any work done as I’d be watching the activity on the water!

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

5 thoughts on “Research Talk at Durham University

  1. Wonderful Wendy ! hope you’re getting the w/end off ! so interesting taking about the slow lane in super mkts it’s just what we were discussing when we did a video for Tesco to train their staff, a few years back !!



  2. Sounded like a wonderful afternoon Wendy, sorry I missed it but I’m trying to organise something similar in my area…would you be interested? ?? Work in progress at the moment but I want to present an idea to my management team xx Happy Sunday!! ☺


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