To start their workweek, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden travelled to Scotland to visit University of Stirling.
Upon their arrival, Their Majesties were received by Alan Simpson OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk, and the university’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Gerry McCormack, as well as members of the research team wishing the social sciences faculty.
The King and Queen travelled to the university specifically to see the prototypes of their newly designed dementia-friendly living facilities. The project was funded by Silviahemmet, the healthcare-related entity Queen Silvia founded in 1996, and is led by Professor Alison Bowes.
University of Stirling is currently leading the world in the research on dementia patients and how to make their life with this disease more manageable. Because of the slow progress of cognitive conditions, this research program specifically, called Designing Homes for Healthy Cognitive Ageing (DesHCA), is designed to create innovative products that would allow patients with dementia to stay in their own houses for longer and safely, before having to be transferred in assisted living facilities such as care or nursing homes.
To achieve their goals, the program leaders have taken an interdisciplinary approach, recruiting into the team researchers, engineers, builders, architects, housing providers, medical personnel with experience in the field and patients and their families, creating a community that can analyse the issues from different aspects.
Following the tour of the living facilities prototypes, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia took part in a panel, where they heard about the latest advancements in dementia research. Wilhelmina Hoffman, principal and operations manager at Silviahemmet, was also present via video chat.
Professor Bowes said of the visit: “It is an honour to host the King and Queen today and demonstrate the breadth and importance of the research carried out here. Dementia is a condition which touches everyone. Approximately ten million new cases are diagnosed every year, and with populations ageing across the world, there’s a growing demand for new care technologies, new housing models and innovations to help people remain independent for longer. Collaborations such as our project with Silviahemmet and our other partners, bring together research, industry and practice, to ensure these solutions are delivered and make a difference to people across the world.”
Queen Silvia has long been involved with the fight against cognitive conditions and been interested in the newest elements of research that could improve the living conditions of those suffering from such illnesses, but also their families and support systems.