Gwen Coleman - Director of Care
Compassionate • Focused • Active
My journey into the world of dementia care and support started unexpectedly but it has been a constant source of fulfilment and learning! I started my career 20 years ago in the NHS, as a registered dietitian. This involved working across a range of care settings from hospitals to the community, with a wide variety of people.
However from the early days it was obvious to me that my passion was working with older people and the area of mental health. During this time I started to develop a huge interest in the impact of food and nutrition on mental health and emotional well-being.
The opportunity to pursue this interest in more depth came about when I joined the Alzheimer's Society in 2002. My role was to manage a qualitative research project called 'Food for thought' sponsored by the Department of Health. I am proud to have been part of this unique piece of work. I believe the outcomes of this project helped to build a national picture of the experience people living with a dementia had concerning food, drink and nutritional care. It also provided invaluable information and knowledge to help address this often neglected area of care and support with the ultimate aim of enhancing well-being whilst living with a dementia.
Following on from this project work the breath of my experience and knowledge in dementia care evolved when I took a post with the Alzheimer's Society as a dementia training manager. During this time I focused much of my time on developing and delivering bespoke training on nutrition and dementia care for the health and social care sector: working nationally with a wide variety of organisations and providers.
I then joined Anchor and worked for four years as a dementia specialist providing in-house consultancy and training to support people experiencing a dementia across care both in care homes and in independent living.
I have authored several publications during my career including 'Catering for people with dementia' for the Alzheimer's Society (2009) as well as co-authoring the Royal Society of Public Health's 'Eating well for care homes'. I am also an author of the 'Eating well' section of SCIE's dementia gateway.
I am blessed to live by the sea and cherish the spare time I have to spend with my family and three cats! I am interested in holistic therapies and yoga and like nothing better than a long walk to keep me energised and focused.