Supporting People with Young Onset Dementia and their Families


Dementia Pathfinders was delighted to work on a Department of Health funded project, which enabled us to develop and provide training to the social care workforce to equip care providers to effectively meeting the needs of people with young onset dementia and their families and carers. The training was developed together with younger people with dementia and their families. 


The course is based on the publication 'Approaching an unthinkable future' documenting the experiences and feelings of people living with young onset dementia. A copy of the publication will be given to all delegates upon completion of the course.

Supporting People with Young onset Dementia and their Families is now available as an open course. 

‘The Supporting People with Young Onset Dementia and their Families training course made finalist in the ‘Best Training Initiative’ category at the National Dementia Care Awards 2016’

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Describe dementia, its causes, signs and symptoms.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the difficulties associated with diagnosing young onset dementia
  • Understand the experience of dementia for the person with the diagnosis and their family
  • Explain the purpose of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Explain the social care needs of a younger person with dementia.
  • Describe the social care needs of the family of a younger person with dementia.
  • Describe a range of different approaches and activities that can be used when working with a younger person with dementia
  • List a variety of organisations that can assist with practical, legal and financial questions that younger people with dementia and their families may face

Who can attend:

The course is suitable for anyone who is supporting or may support people living with young onset dementia. Young onset dementia is the term use to describe anyone with dementia under the age of 65 years.


Course trainers:

For London - Sylvia Cowleard
After many years as an HR manager in various organisations, Sylvia moved to the care sector where her real interests lie. She has firsthand experience as a carer but also worked alongside carers in residential settings to provide coaching and mentoring. She has worked closely with managers of dementia care services, giving practical guidance on HR issues. In 2004 Sylvia became a freelance trainer and HR consultant, working in the care sector and specialising in dementia care. She enjoys devising and delivering training programmes which effect positive change in care practice within the care setting to support the wellbeing of services users.

For Cardiff - Julia Burton-Jones
Julia is a freelance trainer, having been involved in adult learning for 25 years. Her main interest has been in raising awareness of the role of older people and family carers among diverse groups of learners. A theme running through her training has been giving a voice to people with dementia, and friends and relatives who support them, including developing strategies for involving families in care home life.

For Wolverhampton - Julia Pitkin
Julia trained as an occupational therapist and has a post graduate Certificate in Dementia Studies. She is the UK’s first certified Validation Trainer in Dementia Care, completing her training in Pennsylvania, USA. Her decision to specialise in dementia care was influenced by her work as a quality care auditor for a private sector accreditation company and for the former National Care Standards Commission, where she identified training needs for staff caring for people living with dementia in care homes. Her specialist interest and passion is in person-centred listening and communication, having recently made a training film called ‘Conversations that Matter: breaking through dementia’. Julia lives in a corner of rural Shropshire with chickens, dogs, alpacas and wifi.


Carer Speakers:

For London - Paul and Elaine Eager
Paul was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s that affects language skills, called logopenic dementia, which causes primary progressive aphasia. Symptoms started when he was 54, he is now 59. He has also been diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy; although medication seems to be controlling the seizures, Elaine, Paul’s wife is reluctant to leave him alone for any length of time.
Paul was in the police force until retiring in 2000 and then spent ten years in victim support. Elaine is 52. She also was a police officer and on retiring from this job, she became a primary school teacher. She has had to give up this role to support Paul.
Over the two-day course Elaine and Paul will share their story with participants.

For Birmingham and Wolverhampton - Suzy Webster
Suzy Webster's specialist area of dementia care and the knowledge base for her training is informed on the moment to moment care of her Mum who lives with young onset dementia in their multi-generational home.
Suzy also has a passion for promoting good practice in care homes for older people through the My Home Life programme and is privileged to work alongside residents, relatives and staff to share their experiences informing the wider public of the many great things happening in care homes around Wales.
Suzy has worked as a Social Worker, Dementia Outreach Worker and Expert by Experience, accompanying the Care Quality Commission on care home inspections in England.

Further Information

Supporting people with young onset dementia and their familiescan be commissioned by an organisation for delivery in-house. To request further information or to discuss possible training please email or contact 0845 257 2250