By: Zoe Lucock, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Behavioural gerontology is in its infancy in the UK, with very few if any active practitioners and only a brief mention of ABA for older adults on most ABA MSc courses. While ABA for children with autism is seeing the similar demand for services from parents that was seen in the USA in previous decades, ABA with older adults is practically unheard of. We wanted to change that. I completed my Ph.D. at Bangor University looking at behaviour-analytic assessments for older adults with dementia and at the same time, Emma was completing her MSc ABA with practicum conducting clinical work in a dementia ward in the local hospital. Both the ward and the care homes that we were in were impressed and grateful for the support they received in improving the quality of life for their clients, with care homes eager to have us back to take part in whatever research study we had planned next. At the end of my Ph.D. I knew from experience that there was a real need for high-quality behavioural services for older adults in the UK, and with so few behavioural gerontologists, we decided to give it a go. 

Positive Ageing Consultancy & Training (PACT) is now a few months old, and so far we have had a wonderful reception. Our colleagues in other areas of behaviour analysis have been keen to learn more about what we do and we released an “Introduction to Behavioural Gerontology” online course that provides 2 BACB CEUs, with more courses in development. We also released a free workbook to help anyone looking to move into behavioural gerontology with some concrete suggestions as to the steps they should take. We have also been in discussion with local state provider of dementia care services who are keen to collaborate with us to enhance their service provision. This is an exciting prospect that we hope will come to fruition, and on a personal level, we believe that behavioural services should be state-provided rather than privately funded, as with other forms of psychological therapies in the UK. 

We are currently at the start of our journey in providing behavioural gerontology services in the UK, and we are so grateful for the wonderful support we have received from the BG SIG members over the last few years. If you want to follow us, check out the links below.

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