National Dementia Carers Action Network
Alzheimer Scotland’s National Dementia Carers Action Network (NDCAN) is a national campaigning and awareness raising group for carers of people with dementia. NDCAN was formed in 2011 and we exist to make the voices of carers heard and raise awareness of the issues impacting on us as carers. We have a general membership which meet twice a year and a committee that meets quarterly. Each year the group decide on the priorities that NDCAN will work on for the coming year. Our staff team is based in Alzheimer Scotland offices in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Since NDCAN was formed we have:
- Influenced Government and Parliament - NDCAN members have met regularly with the Minister for Mental Health, fed into government consultations and spoke to MSPs at Parliamentary events and Cross Party Groups. We also sat on the national boards for both the new Dementia Strategy and the Carers Act to make sure carers voices were heard.
- Helped to improve the quality of care - NDCAN worked with Focus on Dementia to improve the quality of post diagnostic support and specialist dementia units so that professionals know what carers need in terms of support. We also participated in the Fair Dementia Care commission to support carers as the person they care for enters the advanced stages of dementia and end of life.
- We helped to train workforces - Each year, NDCAN members help to train health and social care professionals. This includes providing their own personal views and experiences to the Dementia Champions Programme. Members have also contributed to the Dementia Ambassadors programme.
- Raised awareness at a local national and international level - NDCAN members have attended and spoken at a wide range of conferences in Scotland, the UK and abroad such as Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer Disease International. NDCAN also have a stand each year at the Alzheimer Scotland Annual Conference and use this opportunity to talk about the work of the group.
- Helped other carers - Helped to develop new resources for carers on a range of subjects, including early onset dementia, continence and speech therapy. In 2016, members of NDCAN took part in a conference on building resilience amongst family carers. They became interested in helping other carers of people with dementia to be more resilient by sharing their knowledge and experiences of what has helped and worked for them. The group applied for funding, and the Life Changes Trust very kindly supported them to develop a series of eight booklets explaining what has helped carers of people with dementia to get through the day and cope with difficult times. These booklets offer words of encouragement, tools and tips. They are not professional advice guides. Rather, they are they are the things that have worked for NDCAN’s carers and other carers across Scotland. To put these booklets together, NDCAN not only drew upon the expertise of their entire membership, they also worked closely with groups of carers all across Scotland.
Each year, the NDCAN membership are asked to feedback on what they see are the most pressing issues and themes for carers. This is also collated from the Annual Members Meeting held at the beginning of the year. This information will inform the group’s priorities. For 2019-20 NDCAN’s priorities are as follows:
All of the work that NDCAN undertake will align with each one of the priorities and progress will be monitored and evaluated throughout the year.