After working in a care home, Alise Kirtley’s eyes were opened to the many challenges facing care institutions and motivated to do something to help improve the quality of life for people living with dementia, both in care homes as well as at home in the community. So Alise founded the Dementia Home Consultancy Group, offering a completely bespoke support service.
Please tell us about some of the work you have done to support, improve and contribute to the lives of, people with dementias?
I created the Dementia Home Consultancy Group, which provides expert practical and emotional support to families living at home with dementia.
I absolutely love the work, and feel we make an immediate, positive difference to people’s lives through our ability to offer a completely bespoke support service.
I am also fortunate to have been part of teams that research best practice, innovation and technologies for dementia and have worked with community groups, care homes and hospitals to improve care practice on the ground. Most importantly, I have been both a carer and homesharer myself.
What was your motivation for getting involved in the field of dementia?
I began working with people living with dementia as a Culture Change Manager in a care home. My eyes were opened wide to the challenges of improving practice within institutions - where there are so many interdependent factors that can affect quality of life for the people living, working and visiting there.
Over the years a personal mission has evolved, to ‘support people living with dementia - by which I mean the people with the diagnosis, as well as their carers, family and friends - to ‘flourish together'.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement or highlight?
I am extremely proud to have set up the Dementia Home Consultancy Group.
I also recently completed an MSc in Sustainability, and my dissertation was on scaling social impact in Dementia Care in the UK. I interviewed some astonishingly driven, compassionate, inspiring leaders in the sector, and to put it plainly – I wanted to be like them!
There are some beautiful examples of dementia care – both in care homes and at home – but these tend to exist in spite of the current system. My work aims to be part of the movement that inverts this so that excellent quality care becomes the norm.
If you could change one thing now to improve the lives of people living with dementia, what would it be?
JUST ONE THING??! Universally accessible, high-quality post-diagnostic support services - so that no-one is left feeling alone with a diagnosis. This would include ensuring access to meaningful music such as the dementia-friendly concert series Songhaven or simply a meaningful (and preferably shared) music listening experience at home.