Sheffield researchers launch online tool to help people with dementia

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have launched an online resource to support people with dementia and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 9:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 9:32 am

Connecting People, Connecting Support is an online space where people with dementia, family members and care staff can access research-informed resources that promote quality of life.

Researchers from Lab4Living launched the online tool to help people living with the condition that currently affects more than 850,000 people.

Covid-19 has meant many individuals who would ordinarily attend day centres for support are now confined to home.

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Sheffield Hallam

This is creating challenges for the person with dementia and family members who are not given access to the space, stimulation and respite they need.

Connecting People, Connecting Support seeks to support individuals at this time by providing a focus for interactions and engagement in meaningful activity. The structure revolves around conversation starters, things to try, games to play and signposts to other resources.

Dr Claire Craig, co-director of the design-led research centre Lab4Living, said: “We have been working with Elaine Hunter, a national allied health professions consultant at Policy and Research for Scotland, who has been implementing our post-diagnostic support programme, Journeying Through Dementia.

“When we heard of the challenges facing people living with dementia and their families as a consequence of Covid-19, Elaine saw the potential to make this available to everyone.”

Helen Fisher, a researcher, said: “Rather than releasing everything at once, we will offer two themes each week to provide a focus and something for people to look forward to. The Tuesday theme focuses on helping individuals to manage the practical challenges that living with dementia brings and the Friday theme shares creative and expressive activities. The themes range from managing routine through to music, photography and holiday at home.”

CPCS experienced more than 2,000 site views over the first three days and the team has been inundated with feedback from people with dementia, family members and carers.