Welcome to Scaling the Peaks Blog


I’ve spent the past couple of hours with Jane and Mary from the Farming Life Centre, Blackwell, Derbyshire building a dedicated Facebook and wordpress website. Jane and Mary have provided essential help whilst I provided cookies (the oaty ones not the computer type) So here goes…..

I’m really lucky to be fullly funded by the Alzhimer’s Society to undertake a 4 year study which will examine rural dementia. This is a new venture for the Alzheimer’s Society who recently decided to allocate research funding to care in addition to the more biochemical research.

Why rural dementia? Well we know a fair amount about urban care because the majority of studies have tended to take place in the immediate vicinity of universities and organisations which are located in the cities. Models of care, including the design and delivery of services for families affected by dementia have tended to pay scant attention to the challenges of rural living. We know that rural services cost more to deliver than urban and that this has an impact on the range of services. In these times of austerity rural care will inevitably have to show real value for money.

This research intends to contribute to the growing body of knowledge which is examining the design and delivery of rural services. We know that urban models tend not to work particularly well in rural areas for many reasons. Some of these reasons may be clear and others more opaque. Infrastructures such as reliable regular transport to local GPs and shops are key to older people remaining independent, fuel costs for heating and cooking tend to much higher in rural areas because of the reliance on oil, housing costs are higher in the most picturesque parts of the UK because of the demand for second homes and rural idylls, the demographics lean towards more older people and less young families which impact upon the availability of care givers. And the list goes on.

The more hidden reasons are ones which may be common regardless of where you live; pride and resilience, stigma of dementia, having to carry on in work, multiple types of illness and isolation. A weekly social meeting can make all the difference to feeling well or feeling rotten and isolated.

So this work aims to highlight some of those issues and to share them with key organisations so that services can be designed and delivered and sustained in ways which truly fit rural communities.



2 thoughts on “Welcome to Scaling the Peaks Blog”

  1. This would appear, at first glance,to be a most worthwhile project. It could, potentially and should, result in a major step forward in the understanding and as such provide an educative tool for health care and other associated professionals and organisations, in the delivery of worthwhile and effective specialist care of people with dementia.

    There is the potential for Providers at all levels, to be given the opportunity for a real insight into both the needs of dementees and their loved ones, plus suggestions regarding the most effective and cost efficient manner in which many of these can be met.

    The major costs involved are often human as much as financial! Much can be achieved and real progress made through listening, careful consideration and open communication. The best, most effective and innovative ideas, have, invariably, come from ;”the shop floor” rather than from the “board room” and where facilitated still do! Enlightened and most successful organisations, though diminishing in number, still ensure that this can happen.

    Health and other Care organisations, often pay lip service to the active involvement of people from outside the organisation, including users of the service, in the development of their services. This therefore limits the opportunities for fresh, external, innovative approach to service delivery, from those on the receiving or not receiving end of a service.

    It takes a true professional / specialist to be able to acknowledge that the learning process and personal development are both ongoing and that the sources to facilitate the same, are not always from the normally recognised professional source.

    Wishing this innovative project every success – IT NEEDS TO SUCCEED FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE PEAKS!


    1. Hello Joe,
      thank you so much for your encouragement and support for the project.
      We do endeavour to include as many different organisations as possible and invite them to come forward to bring their own expertise and views.
      Most importantly, this work includes families affected by dementia so that their own expectations and experiences of living with in a rural place and dementia are listened to and included. I agree we never stop learning regardless of how old we are and that there are many interests and activities which can challenge us and then help us grow a little more.
      We are committed to the ongoing development of services which are varied. There is never a one size fits all!
      The study welcomes all older people with dementia who live in rural areas to have their say and help shape the future.


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