Sheffield university researchers helping youngsters cope with a parent with dementia

Prof Pat Sikes, from Sheffield University.
Prof Pat Sikes, from Sheffield University.
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Researchers from The University of Sheffield are aiming to help young people cope with a parent with dementia.

Doctor Melanie Hall, a research associate, and Professor Pat Sikes are undertaking a study to see how younger people are affected when a parent is diagnosed with dementia.

Prof Sikes said: “My children’s father has early-onset dementia, involving vascular, fronto-temporal and Alzheimer’s, so I saw the ways in which his illness before diagnosis and then after had consequences, of various kinds, for them.

“They are now 24 and 22 but, looking back, we can see their dad began to manifest signs of his condition when they were around 15 and 13.

“It wasn’t easy for them and there was very little available to let them know they weren’t on their own or to offer any sort of advice and support. The aim of this project is try to create helpful resources based on the stories of youngsters who know what it’s like to be in this position and thereby use their experiences to good effect.”

The project is being funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. Both women are urging people to join the charity’s Memory Walk event at Rother Valley Country Park on October 11.