Community boost to people living with dementia

New research from The University of Manchester shows how being connected with their local community has reaped enormous benefits for people with dementia.

Research Associate Sarah Campbell says familiarity with people in local shops, cafes and even on the street, was crucial to the participants of the study.

Acts of kindness by neighbours like taking the bins out each week, she said had a huge effect on their wellbeing.

The researchers also found that some people with dementia still had a valuable role in their neighbourhoods by ‘keeping an eye’ out, collecting newspapers and caring for grandchildren.

The research is part of a five year study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research. It is one of the first and largest studies to investigate how people living with dementia, and their partners, experience their local neighbourhoods.

The research team say their findings will encourage others to think about people living with dementia currently thought to be 850,000 people Alzheimer’s Research UK. The figure worldwide is 44 million people, which is set to treble to 135 million by 2050, Alzheimer’s Research UK.

"These findings together indicate how the neighbourhood operates through a series of links between people and place from the dementia café, to the local newsagents, and the neighbour two doors down. Many people with dementia will be living independently in neighbourhoods and communities, with the support of family, friends, neighbours and formal and informal service provides." - Sarah Campbell

A free drop in interactive event at the ESRC Festival of Social Science aims to inform the public on how people living with dementia experience everyday life in local places.

Location: Manchester Central Library on Wed 8 November between 11am and 3pm.

Stuart Goulden

Lead Consultant