New BDA Toolkit: The Deaf Dementia Experience in Scotland

Section: People and NetworksType: News Item Date Published: 28th October 2019

A new resource for deaf BSL users who have dementia, or those caring for someone living with dementia.

The British Deaf Association (BDA) Scotland has created its first ever user-friendly dementia toolkit.  It was created by Deaf people who are carers or former carers and use British Sign Language (BSL).

This user-friendly toolkit is for Deaf people who use BSL and who are living with dementia, as well as their families, carers, and any staff who are supporting them.

“It is a project that is of great personal interest to me. I have experienced caring for my late father, Jack, who was Deaf and lived with dementia. I had to fight for a conclusive diagnosis for him after he developed Alzheimer’s disease because there is currently no assessment in Scotland tailored for Deaf people who use BSL.

I attended many hospital appointments with my father. I was faced with the responsibility to ensure that BSL/English interpreters were booked.  My father was in hospital for the last six weeks of his life.  When I visited him, I could see other families having real quality time with their loved ones, but when I was there, much of my time was taken up in making sure that the appropriate support was in place.  Those concerns made me anxious, and my time with my father was overshadowed by this” says Avril Hepner, Community Development Manager, BDA Scotland.

This toolkit closely aligns with BDA Scotland’s vision of ensuring equality of access and services for Deaf people living with dementia; that is; the fundamental citizenship right to language and culture.

Avril commented:

“I do not want any Deaf person who uses BSL, whether they are the patient, a family member or carer, to experience unfair treatment.  BSL users deserve equal access to information and services in order to have better life outcomes

Information for Deaf people should be led and created by Deaf people so I am grateful to the Stakeholder Group for their invaluable contributions to this toolkit, and, to the Life Changes Trust for their funding and support.”

Find out more about how to support people as they travel on their Deaf Dementia Journey here (this link will take you away from our website).




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