Supporting individuals with dementia: Agnes Houston

Supporting individuals with dementia: Agnes Houston

Supporting individuals with dementia: Agnes Houston

Introduction

Dementia is widely associated with memory loss, but can also involve the deterioration of other senses – hearing, sight, taste, touch and smell. However, little research has been done around this and it is not yet widely understood in the UK.

"This research allowed me to put all of my findings into one place." - Agnes Houston, Fellow

Former nurse Agnes Houston (CF 2016) is pioneering research on dementia and sensory challenges, to raise understanding and awareness of these often overlooked symptoms. Determined to provide more information to those diagnosed with dementia, Agnes wrote a booklet called Dementia and Sensory Challenges, of which 15,000 copies have been distributed worldwide. The booklet covers the sensory challenges that can often occur as a result of dementia, offering advice to patients who have been diagnosed with the condition.

Following her Fellowship research, Agnes wanted to share the findings and recommendations that she had gathered and received funding to write a handbook. This book, Talking Sense, is a free guide for people living with dementia, their carers and healthcare professionals. It offers tips and strategies to help overcome the sensory challenges associated with dementia. Talking Sense is now being used by universities across the UK as a professional training resource.

Agnes was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2006. At the time of her diagnosis, she found that the sensory challenges she was experiencing were not explained by her doctor, and support for how to deal with them was not offered. This inspired Agnes to conduct research into these challenges and to create support for others like herself who were struggling with sensory loss. Her Fellowship explored lived experience of sensory challenges and coping strategies in Canada and Ireland.

Agnes says, “The Churchill Fellowship has enabled me to research sensory challenges faced by people living with dementia and the strategies that are put in place to support those in need. This research allowed me to put all of my findings into one place for other people living with dementia, so that they don’t need to go through the same struggles I encountered when I was diagnosed.”

"This research allowed me to put all of my findings into one place." - Agnes Houston, Fellow

Former nurse Agnes Houston (CF 2016) is pioneering research on dementia and sensory challenges, to raise understanding and awareness of these often overlooked symptoms. Determined to provide more information to those diagnosed with dementia, Agnes wrote a booklet called Dementia and Sensory Challenges, of which 15,000 copies have been distributed worldwide. The booklet covers the sensory challenges that can often occur as a result of dementia, offering advice to patients who have been diagnosed with the condition.

Following her Fellowship research, Agnes wanted to share the findings and recommendations that she had gathered and received funding to write a handbook. This book, Talking Sense, is a free guide for people living with dementia, their carers and healthcare professionals. It offers tips and strategies to help overcome the sensory challenges associated with dementia. Talking Sense is now being used by universities across the UK as a professional training resource.

Agnes was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2006. At the time of her diagnosis, she found that the sensory challenges she was experiencing were not explained by her doctor, and support for how to deal with them was not offered. This inspired Agnes to conduct research into these challenges and to create support for others like herself who were struggling with sensory loss. Her Fellowship explored lived experience of sensory challenges and coping strategies in Canada and Ireland.

Agnes says, “The Churchill Fellowship has enabled me to research sensory challenges faced by people living with dementia and the strategies that are put in place to support those in need. This research allowed me to put all of my findings into one place for other people living with dementia, so that they don’t need to go through the same struggles I encountered when I was diagnosed.”