King and Queen of Sweden visit the University of Stirling’s dementia centre

Swedish Royals and Lord-Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk in uniform walking towards camera

The King and Queen of Sweden paid a royal visit to the University of Stirling today to learn about its world-leading dementia research.

His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Her Majesty Queen Silvia were greeted by Alan Simpson OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk, and the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, before meeting researchers based at the Dementia Services Development Centre in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

During a tour of the centre’s Dementia-friendly Demonstration Suites – a permanent display of rooms and equipment adapted to support the particular needs of people living with dementia – the party learned of the history of the unique research facility.

The royal family have an existing interest in dementia with Queen Silvia having founded the charity foundation Silviahemmet, which offers training programmes and care for those living with dementia and their families.

Silviahemmet is also supporting a major research project, led by Professor Alison Bowes at Stirling, to develop housing innovations that can better support people living with cognitive conditions, such as dementia, to stay in their own homes for longer.

The project, Designing Homes for Healthy Cognitive Ageing (DesHCA) is funded by the ESRC under the Healthy Ageing Challenge Programme, and brings together Scotland’s leading experts on dementia and dementia design, the building industry, architects, housing providers and those living with dementia and their families, to create designs for future-proof housing which will meet the needs of the world’s ageing population.

University of Stirling Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, said: “We were delighted to welcome Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden to the University campus today. This was an important opportunity to showcase the world-leading, transformative and life-changing research led by the University and to acknowledge the King and Queen’s support for this work.”

Professor Alison Bowes, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Principal Investigator for the DesHCA project, said: “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 10 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.”