About Navigating Dementia

Many members of the RAF community are navigating their journey through dementia. Whether you are a member of serving personnel caring for someone with dementia at a distance, or a veteran who is either caring for someone with dementia or living with dementia yourself, or in a different situation entirely, everyone’s experience is unique.

Navigating Dementia is a service created by the RAF Association to support those in need. The service need was identified after the RAF Association conducted research in which it was found that a high number of serving personnel were caring for someone with dementia from a distance. In order to support those and others in similar situations, the Navigating Dementia website was created to offer a place where people could gain more information, read about other people’s stories, benefit from other’s experience and access RAF community related information.

To create the service, the innovation model LIFE (Learn, Investigate, Find, Experiment) was used which was developed by Good Innovation (and then adopted and tailored within the Alzheimer’s Society’s Innovation team). This innovation model has been implemented by many third sector organisations, including The Royal British Legion, British Red Cross, and Arthritis Research UK.

The LIFE model consists of the following four stages:

1. Learn

During the Learn stage, we undertook desk research and conducted interviews with key stakeholders. Our findings enabled us to develop our concept of supporting serving personnel and their families in caring for someone with dementia from a distance.

2. Investigate

In the Investigate stage, we spoke with serving personnel and their families affected by dementia to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they faced.

3. Find

As part of the Find stage, we held a workshop to co-create ideas to overcome these challenges. 22 people attended, including serving personnel, product designers and many more, generating over 50 ideas. The project team reviewed all of the ideas, taking into account feedback from the workshop and their viability, desirability and feasibility. The top four solutions were built on further and then shared with our stakeholders and audience for feedback.

4. Experiment

Following review of the feedback on the ideas, we developed our Navigating Dementia project to take forward two solutions into the Experiment stage, where we would build and test them in real-world situations:  An online community providing resources and networks for the RAF Community who are affected by dementia, including those who have a diagnosis of dementia, and those with carer responsibilities and; Awareness and training for carers via a modular training package for members of the RAF Community who are caring for someone living with Dementia.

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