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How do couples communicate during everyday tasks when one person is caring for the other with dementia? Participants wanted for study

Posted in Dementia Project News

My name is Stephanie Ellis-Gray and I am a trainee clinical psychologist from the University of Birmingham. I am completing a research project with my supervisors, Jan Oyebode and Gerry Riley. I have a long-standing interest in dementia. I have run some carers groups in the past, and have worked in memory clinics where I have completed assessments, and have offered support and advice after a diagnosis. However, my main interest is the impact of dementia on relationships. This is because dementia can affect relationships in a number of ways: stress and burden can increase, but also dementia can bring a couple closer together. I also have a personal interest, as my uncle has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it has been interesting to see the changes in the relationship he has with my aunt.

The study
My research is focusing on positive interactions between couples, where one partner is caring for the other with a diagnosis of dementia. The study aims to investigate whether there is a link between how the carer feels about their relationship and how couples interact and co-operate on an everyday task. We hope that this research will lead to couples receiving better advice and support about how they can keep a good relationship with one another.

The study has received ethical approval from the Edgbaston Research Ethics Committee.

Eligibility criteria
The study will involve couples completing an everyday task together, whilst being videotaped by myself. The type of task is up to them; couples who have taken part so far have chosen to prepare a meal together, wash up, rake leaves, or get ready to go out for a walk. After the task, the carer will be asked to complete a short questionnaire.

In order to take part, couples must meet the following criteria:
1. One person has received a diagnosis of dementia
2. Both speak English
3. They have been in the relationship for at least 2 years and are currently living together
4. Both have the capacity to understand what they need to do, and consent to the study

Contact information
If you are interested in taking part, please contact Stephanie Ellis-Gray by email or by telephone 07855 099689. Please note, that she will be away from 12-27 February, but will check emails and messages when she returns.