Empowering Dementia Care: A Dialogue with Lori La Bey, Dr. Kellyn Lee, and Pym’s Consultancy

by | 19 Feb, 2024 | Blog, Commercial, Dementia, Healthcare, Social Care

In a recent, interesting discussion with Lori La Bey, a renowned advocate for dementia resources, and Dr. Kellyn Lee, the innovative mind behind The Dementia Care Hub (putting academic research into impactful action), we explored the multifaceted challenges and opportunities within the realm of dementia care. This meeting was not just a dialogue but a further call for actionable change, addressing the systemic hurdles in healthcare and the untapped potential of supportive technologies for individuals living with dementia.

One of my core frustrations, echoed in our conversation, lies in the underrepresentation and underutilisation of supportive technologies designed to enhance the independence and quality of life of those living with dementia. There are numerous potential innovations out there that could transform daily living, yet the path to making these technologies accessible and widely known is fraught with obstacles.

Lori La Bey shed light on a critical bottleneck in the innovation pipeline: while funding for product development is available, the resources for commercialisation, especially in the US, are strikingly limited. This resonates with the situation in the UK, where innovators often find themselves at a crossroads, with groundbreaking products in hand but an arduous journey ahead to navigate the market entry. Government funding, while crucial, predominantly focuses on the developmental phase, leaving a void when it comes to bringing these solutions to the people who need them most.

Furthermore, we discussed the pervasive assumption that the financial responsibility for such technologies should fall on the shoulders of the NHS or local councils. This mindset leads to a scenario where all new products are funnelled through exhaustive and costly assessment and procurement processes. The reality is that not only are individuals and families willing to invest in technologies that promise better care and independence, but such investments also align with a broader economic perspective. By enabling individuals to live independently for longer, we inherently reduce the time and resources spent in residential care, leading to substantial savings for families and government alike.

However, the current commercialisation processes present formidable barriers, especially for self-funded innovators. These passionate individuals, driven by a vision to make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by dementia, often hit roadblocks that are insurmountable without substantial financial backing or navigational expertise. The potential of their innovations to save millions and enhance the lives of many is undeniable, yet realising this potential becomes a herculean task within the confines of the existing system.

In our meeting, as we brought together the perspectives of Lori La Bey, Dr. Kellyn Lee, and my experiences at Pym’s Consultancy and as a carer for my mother, it was clear that a collaborative, multifaceted approach is essential. We need strategies that not only address the immediate needs of individuals living with dementia but also empower innovators and streamline pathways to market. This is where the invaluable resources provided by Alzheimer’s Speaks, The Dementia Care Hub, and the consulting services at Pym’s Consultancy become pivotal.

I invite everyone touched by dementia to explore these resources and join us in this crucial dialogue:

Together, we can reshape the landscape of dementia care, making it more inclusive, innovative, and geared towards a future where technology and care converge to offer the best possible lives for those embarking on this journey.

If you have an innovation that you’re looking to bring to the market, please feel free to contact me. The initial consultation is always free of charge.

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