A major new study will investigate the role of neighbourhood in the experience of people with dementia.
Researchers at the University of Manchester will lead a European team for the five-year ‘Neighbourhoods and Dementia’ study, announced this week at the G8 dementia summit.
It is one of six research projects announced by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of a £20m funding boost designed to take understanding of dementia to a new level.
The summit, attended by ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities, has been looking at ways to attract new funding and generate innovation in dementia research.
It follows on from last year’s comments by the prime minister David Cameron that the country is facing a “national crisis” due to dementia.
Professor John Keady, of the University of Manchester, is the lead researcher in the ‘Neighbourhoods and Dementia’ study.
He said it will aim to “celebrate the achievements, growth and contribution that people with dementia and their carers make to society”.
It will be the first time a large-scale research programme has involved people with dementia and their families taking on a variety of roles, from advisers to co-researchers, in a move Professor Keady describes as “exciting”.
He said: “This will lead to the development of new research tools for use by people with dementia and their families and help to create innovative ways of working.”
As one of its four work programmes, the research team will create what they refer to as Neighbourhood Profiles.
These are more accurate estimates of geographical differences in cognitive ageing and service use, which they will generate by using existing longitudinal databases and which will inform policy, commissioning and practice.
As part of the intervention work programme, they will develop the first digitalised life story tool for deaf people (BSL users) who live with dementia.
The latest raft of research projects are being launched at a time when there are 44 million people in the world living with dementia - and by 2050 this number is expected to reach 135 million.
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