home carer helping senior woman get dressed in her bedroomMost people with dementia want to remain living in their own homes for as long as they can, this can be made possible through either paid or family carers.

However, lack of dementia training for paid carers can cause the relationships to break down.

For family carers, problems with behaviour and communication can often cause a great deal of stress. This together with worries about safety often lead to the decision to move the person with dementia into a care home.

Researchers at University College London (UCL) and the University of Bradford are looking at a new way to help people stay at home for longer after a diagnosis of dementia.

The NIDUS Study

The new psychological intervention to support independence in Dementia (NIDUS) study is a randomised study whereby half of the people receive a training and support programme, delivered by a graduate psychologist who is trained and supervised by a clinical psychologist. This is given alongside usual care from their GP or memory service and the other half continue just with their usual care from their GP or memory service.

Those receiving the additional training and support will meet the graduate psychologist who sees or speaks to the person and their carer virtually via Skype or a phone call eight times over a six month period. Together, they set goals and work out a plan to help them to be achieved, using a manual that contains accessible strategies, resources and exercises.

At the end of the process, the graduate psychologist meets all participants to review progress and ask everyone to complete a questionnaire on their quality of life, benchmarking this with what they said at the beginning of the process.

The aim is to understand if the additional psychological support provides any benefit beyond what is already offered.

How to get involved

Chief Investigator Professor Claudia Cooper, Professor of Psychiatry of Older Age at University College London says:

“We’re excited about the prospect of improving lives for people living with dementia and their carers.

“In line with social distancing guidance, the NIDUS study is being conducted over the phone or by video call. This means that eligible people from all over the UK can get involved so if you think this sounds like something you could benefit from, we’d encourage you to get in touch.”

The study which is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society is looking to recruit 297 people with dementia and their carers. To be eligible the person with dementia needs to be living at home either alone or with others and family carers need to be in at least weekly contact with the relative.

A total of £60 in vouchers will be available for participating in the study, to find out more please visit the NIDUS project page on the Alzheimer’s Society website.