Finding ways to care for carers
A new study has been added to ‘Join dementia research’ that is finding out how to better support carers. The project, funded by Alzheimer’s Society, is aiming to find ways to help carers to access much-needed therapy and support in order to cope with feelings that can arise as a result of their caring role, such as stress, anxiety and depression.
An Alzheimer’s Society survey carried out in January 2016 found that 90 per cent of carers experienced feelings of stress or anxiety at least several times a week. A further 60 per cent of those said that they struggled to talk about the impact of caring because they felt guilty for putting their own needs ahead of the person that they are caring for.
In order to address the need for improved support for carers of people with dementia, researchers at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust are trialling online therapy and support packages to see if these can bring benefit to carers.
The trial, Caring for Me and You, is available on ‘Join dementia research’, which will match suitable people to the study and give them more information on taking part.
Due to the complex, progressive and unpredictable nature of the condition, carers may feel that they cannot spare the time to see their doctor. Others may find it difficult to get the care cover they need. Some carers have also said that they feel uncomfortable with a therapist coming to their house. The researchers, led by Jane Fossey at Oxford Health, believe that delivering the support packages online may help to overcome some of these difficulties as people can access the packages at any point from their home environment.
The packages include specially designed online cognitive behavioural therapy, online cognitive behavioural therapy with additional telephone support and tailored information and education. People who sign up will be randomly allocated to one of these three packages.
Anyone who is currently caring for someone with dementia, is over 18 years old and not currently receiving professional mental health support can sign up to the trial to see if they are eligible. You will also need access to a desktop or laptop computer, which is able to access the internet.
Dr Jane Fossey, lead researcher on the study, said:
“Carers often feel the profound effect the role can have on their own lifestyle – spending long hours providing care, juggling their own needs with those of the person they are caring for, and forfeiting their social time. As a result, carers of people with dementia are more likely to experience stress and depression.
“This study could have important implications for how carers of people with dementia are supported to manage stress and depression – the results from this trial could open up a whole host of new ways for them to access help and advice. If shown to be effective, Caring For Me and You could pave the way for a national roll-out of this tailored and accessible support.”
You can see if you are eligible for this study – and others around the nation by logging into your ‘Join dementia research’ account.
Still not registered with ‘Join dementia research’? Why not sign up today to see if you match to the study or other studies, including for carers of people with dementia?