Dr Maggie Ellis named in New Year honours.
The prestigious accolade of an MBE has been awarded to Dr Ellis for services to dementia care and to the citizens of St Andrews after a lifetime researching methods to help those with the degenerative condition, their families and professional caregivers.
Dr Ellis’s research concentrates on helping people living with advanced dementia to communicate. Developed with her collaborator, Professor Arlene Astell of the University of Reading, ‘Adaptive Interaction’ focuses on developing meaningful ways to communicate with those who have lost speech.
Dr Ellis said: “Sometimes people living with advanced dementia who seem unable to communicate can in fact ‘talk’ to us in other ways.
“It is up to us to realise the potential and capabilities of individuals with advanced dementia and, through Adaptive Interaction, afford them re-entry onto the social world.”
Dr Ellis currently trains professional caregivers and family members to use these techniques to develop and maintain relationships with people who have advanced dementia and aims to, in future, focus on helping teenagers to interact with older people who have advanced dementia.
Dr Ellis set up Dementia Friendly St Andrews in 2016 with an emphasis on taking research into practical use to provide help to those living with dementia. Key aims were to raise awareness, provide training, raise funds and provide activities for those with dementia and their families. This work was conducted and further developed in collaboration with students, local activists and Dementia Friendly Fife.
Original University news article.