Exploring the use of the Internet as a support tool for older family carers of people with dementia
- 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017
- Project No: 322
- Funding round: FR 11
- Elderly care Mental health
People are now living healthier and for longer. An ageing population means that the prevalence of dementia is expected to rise to affect over 2 billion people worldwide by 2050.
Most people with dementia are cared for in the community by family and friends. There are over 670,000 such family carers in the UK. Caring for someone with dementia can be demanding. Carers often experience great emotional distress, and are at risk of being socially isolated. They require help and support, but currently many options available to them (like carers' groups) are provided outside the home. These are poorly attended, with only 1 in 10 carers accessing this support. Part of the reason for this is the requirement to leave their relative with dementia at home, which is not always possible.
The Internet has great potential to support carers by allowing them to access help from their own home at any time. More older people are now using the Internet on a daily basis, as a growing number of carers are becoming more familiar with the Internet. However, little is known of the views of older carers of people with dementia about using the Internet or other forms of digital technology for support.
We will interview older carers (65+) about their views on using an Internet-based carer support tool at home. We will ask what carers would want from such a tool and how it should look and function, allowing us to understand how best to design accessible Internet support tools for older adults providing care to a person with dementia.
These findings will be combined with another study; exploring the support needs of family carers of people with dementia at the end of life and designing a support tool that will be tested with carers.
Amount awarded: £38,673