Many people who are living with dementia are cared for at home by a family member or a friend. We know that unpaid caring can be stressful and impact both mental and physical health, so what can be done to help?

Son visiting mother

Aim of the study

Researchers from Bangor University with funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme are investigating the potential benefits of online learning and support for dementia carers.

iSupport is an online skills and training programme developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for carers of people with dementia to help provide good care.

The aim of the iSupport for Dementia Carers study is to assess whether using online education and self-care website is more effective than reading an information booklet in reducing stress and improving mental well being for unpaid carers.

The study team are hoping that having an effective and accessible online service for carers could benefit both the carer and the person living with dementia.

What does it involve?

Eligible volunteers will be asked to use either iSupport or read an information booklet about caring for someone with dementia. Participants can take part in the study from home and will be selected to the different groups at random.

A researcher will meet with participants to complete a questionnaire three times over a six month period. This could take place virtually using zoom or via a telephone interview. Each interview will take approximately one hour.

Some participants may also be asked some additional open-ended questions about their experience of iSupport.

The researchers are optimistic that the iSupport platform will better support carers to access important information and resources particularly if they do not have access to physical support.

Taking part is completely voluntary and eligible volunteers will receive a shopping voucher at the end of the six month period.

As iSupport aims to prevent and/or decrease mental and physical health problems associated with caregiving, the researchers are hopeful that information from the study will have a positive impact on carers.

Chief Investigator Professor Gill Windle, Bangor University says;

“Helping carers and supporting their well being has always been one of the most challenging aspects of dementia care. We are optimistic this research will show how iSupport can be a big help to family carers looking after someone living with dementia. This will provide the knowledge to help develop policy and practice around the support which is delivered to unpaid carers.

I would encourage anyone who meets the criteria to take part if they can.”

Who can take part?

The study team is looking for 350 unpaid carers living in England, Wales, or Scotland to participate and is open until 1 December 2022.

Volunteers need to be over 18 and have reliable access to the internet.

Participants need to have been caring for someone with any type of dementia at least weekly for at least six months, and the person they care for should not be living in a full-time care facility.

To find out if you are eligible to join this study, as well as other dementia studies, sign in to your Join Dementia Research account or if you are not already registered, sign up today.