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Alzheimer Scotland and VoiceAbility: working in partnership to support people living with dementia

5 September 2023

How post-diagnostic support and advocacy services are working together in Aberdeenshire.

Scottish government is a world leader in post-diagnostic support for people living with dementia. 

We spoke with Erin, Support Link Worker with Alzheimer Scotland, to find out more.

Tell us about the work you do.

Alzheimer Scotland is the main charity in Scotland providing support for people with dementia. 

Post-diagnostic support is a Scottish government initiative. When somebody is diagnosed, they’re entitled to one year of support with a link worker. It was a world first as an initiative, but now other European countries are providing something similar. There are now over 100 link workers across Scotland.

Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership gathering for Dementia Awareness Week. Erin is second from left.

I’m based in south Aberdeenshire, and I work with people aged 65 and over. We do blended support –in person and on the phone. It’s very person-centred so it’s up to the person how we meet and how often, it depends what they prefer.

We use a five-pillar framework: understanding the illness and managing the symptoms; peer support; supporting community connections; planning for future care; and planning for future decision making. 

By the end of the year, the person living with dementia and their family have support to live independently for as long as possible, and support with managing their illness.

How did you first hear about VoiceAbility?

My colleague Lori provides support for people under 65 across Aberdeen City and the north, east and west of Aberdeenshire. She wanted to run a session on advocacy and benefit entitlements, so she got in touch with VoiceAbility. Callum, one of the local advocates, said he was more than happy to support, and they planned a session together. 

I also run regular online groups about post-diagnostic support, and we have different speakers each week: occupational therapists, community activity organisers from Alzheimer Scotland, a range of people. Callum joined our next session online. 

He spoke about what VoiceAbility can offer, and two main benefits in particular: Adult Disability Payment and Carer’s Allowance. 

From a professional point of view, we all learnt so much.

We’re hoping to run another event in the next few months.

Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre

What are the biggest challenges for people you support in your community?

The rurality of the area is a challenge: it’s such a big area, a lot of it countryside. 

And just knowing what support is out there. Things get lost in translation, people don’t know what’s available - so they miss out.

What are the benefits of this kind of partnership working?

It’s great to do, especially with other local charities, and especially up in this area. Everything is typically in the central belt of Scotland, so it’s great to have something close to home, in Aberdeen and the shire.

I think another benefit of this partnership working is knowing that we are all there for the same reason: to support people.

Having these partnerships is important because we all have our different areas of expertise.

It’s great to know that we can work together and signpost to services such as VoiceAbility to make a difference in people’s lives.

How do people contact you if they need support from Alzheimer Scotland?

Usually people are referred to us when they’re diagnosed – but if people want extra support, they can contact their local dementia resource centre.

There’s also a helpline available 24 hours a day, every day of the year: 0808 808 3000.

Find out more at the Alzheimer Scotland website:

Work in partnership with VoiceAbility

Do you provide support for disabled people in Scotland?

VoiceAbility’s advocates work across the country to provide independent advocacy, supporting people to access Social Security Scotland benefits.

Advocates are also available in Edinburgh to support unpaid carers to understand their rights and access support.

The team are always happy to hear from local organisations who want to work in partnership. Get in touch to see how we might work together at or 0300 303 1660.