New BU institute discovers new ways of making tourist attractions dementia-friendly.
Fear of getting lost, fear of not finding the toilets or being misunderstood; there are many reasons why people with dementia and the families who care for them stop going on holiday.
For people with dementia, even simple days out can pose a host of hazards. Often, families say, it's easier to just stay at home. But BU's newly launched Dementia Institute hopes to change that.
"We have a vision," says Professor Anthea Innes of the BU Dementia Institute (BUDI), "that perhaps in the future, Bournemouth might become a dementia-friendly tourist resort." An expert in health and social care research, Professor Innes is collaborating with Professor Stephen Page of BU's School of Tourism to launch pioneering research into dementia-friendly tourism - developing venues where people with dementia will feel safe and at ease to enjoy themselves.
Encouraged by a government pledge to create 20 dementia-friendly cities, towns and villages by 2015, Professor Innes is working closely with those who need these facilities most.
"Our aim is to see how tourism can respond to the needs of people with dementia and their carers and find out if and why they haven't been able to access tourist attractions and leisure facilities," she says. "We hope to increase their use of tourist attractions, accommodation and resorts in the South of England."
While an exploratory pilot scheme will take place locally, Professor Innes hopes to expand the research to international, as well as UK, facilities. "Lots of work is currently going into dementia-friendly communities - safe cashpoints, trained staff and police for instance - but we are the only people looking specifically at leisure and tourism," she says.
Her initial focus groups with families of people with dementia will feed into research into voluntary organisations, NHS services and businesses themselves. BUDI plans to develop training to shape professional dementia care in the region. In the course of its research, BUDI's team will also interview the many tourist attractions that make up Bournemouth's seaside resort, such as the Oceanarium and venues such as tearooms, galleries, theatres and museums.