Dementia and Ageing

The spectrum of research delivered by the team spans from healthcare looking at the outcomes of people with cognitive impairment and dementia in the hospital setting, through end of life care, decision making for care provision, the roles of community based care professionals in particular community pharmacists, and the importance of the dementia friendly neighbourhood. We also have research programmes looking at specific populations namely those with onset of dementia at a younger age, minority ethnic groups, and those with alcohol related brain injury.

This large spectrum of research is made possible by the vast skill mix of the team; our backgrounds are diverse but we are united by a common goal. The researcher spectrum spans from health to social care and beyond by a team comprising doctors, nurses, pharmacists, psychologist, economists, social workers, social scientists, musicians, carers and people with dementia. Our collaborative working across disciplines nationally and internationally adds to the breadth of our research and we have a particular interest in developing interdisciplinary approaches to dementia research.

The dementia research team is fortunate to be aided in the translation of their research into education and policy informing practice by their collaborative working with the Dementia Services Development Centre.

The Dementia research group continues to evolve within the changing global context of this field.  Our research is pivotal to guide policy and practice within this rapidly changing landscape of dementia care and service delivery. Our ambitions to expand and consolidate our position as one of the leading influences on thinking and practice on dementia are grounded by a common motivation; to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

If you have a piece of research that you would like us to be involved with or you want to collaborate with us then please contact the research group leader, Emma Reynish at

As a team, we share a commitment to research that involves and promotes the perspectives of people with dementia and carers and we have extensive experience and interest in the development and use of participatory methods and inclusive approaches to research. We recognise that dementia is experienced by a diverse mix of people and that social, geographical and economic differences are key to how people are situated to live with and experience dementia.

Working as a team we have the advantage that our individual research efforts are never viewed in isolation. We aim to co-ordinate our research efforts to bring together the pieces of this jigsaw in a way that is informed by high-quality research evidence and cascade this cutting-edge research into our teaching so that our international cohort of MSc students benefit from the most up to date and relevant insights into the field.

Name  Subject area Contact
Professor Emma Reynish (research group leader) Dementia Studies
Ailidh Aikman              Dementia Services Development Centre                       
Stephen Antwi Research Postgraduate 
Rosalie Ashworth Research Postgraduate
Mari Berge Research Postgraduate
Dr Naomi Brooks Sport, Health and Exercise Science
Professor Alison Bowes Sociology
FeiFei Bu Research Fellow
Julia Campbell Research and Enterprise Office
Julie Christie  Research Postgraduate
Professor Peter Connelly Co-Director, The Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network

Dr Alison Dawson Research Fellow

Chris Ferguson Research and Enterprise Office 
Jennifer Ferguson Research Postgraduate 
Dr Barbara Graham  Research Fellow 
Dr Corinne Greasley-Adams Research Fellow 
Dr Grant Gibson Dementia Studies 
Nadine Thomas  Research Postgraduate 
Jean Hannah Research Postgraduate 
Paul Henery Research Postgraduate 
Alison Irving Research Postgraduate 
Bernadette Keenan Research Postgraduate   
Henriette Laidlaw Dementia Services Development Centre 
Emma Law Research Postgraduate 
Dr Louise McCabe Dementia Studies
Dr Vikki McCall Housing Studies 
Gillian McColgan Teaching Assistant 
Catherine Pemble Research Postgraduate 
Wendy Perry Dementia Services Development Centre 
Dr Jane Robertson Dementia Studies
Professor Kirstein Rummery Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology 
Dr Alasdair Rutherford Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology 
Fiona Sherwood-Johnson Social Work 
Veronica Smith Research Postgraduate 
Susan Tester Research Fellow 
Dianne Theakstone Research Postgraduate 
Kari Velzke Research Postgraduate 
Rebecca Walesby Research Fellow  
Dr Richard Ward Dementia Studies 
Mike Wilson Research Postgraduate

Quality of life in later years - voices of older people in Scotland

Dr Corrinne Greasley-AdamsGrant GibsonDr Vikki McCall & Dr Jane Robertson with Age Scotland

The project aims engage the support of 20-25 community researchers from across Scotland to work alongside researchers from the faculty of social sciences. It will provide research training to the community researchers who will assist in gathering visual representations of a good life, running focus groups, and developing a Scotland-wide survey. Community researchers will also be active in analysis and dissemination activities. Community researchers will be older people and may include people living with dementia and their carers. Age Scotland on this project will support provide the support to identifying community researchers and in taking forward messages from the research into policy. The project will result in the following outputs: a main report, short reports of 1-2 pages on key themes, a video report, a collection of posters relating to key themes, a half day dissemination event for policy officers, and a peer review open access journal. 

Neighbourhoods: Our people, our places

The aim of this research is to find out how neighbourhoods and local communities can support people with dementia to remain socially and physically active. We work closely with people with dementia and their carers to find out what their neighbourhood means to them, the different ways it supports them, and what could be changed to make life better. Our work across Central Scotland is just one branch of an international project with the same research being undertaken in Greater Manchester (England) and Linköping (Sweden). The different teams will compare their results and findings and develop locally based interventions in each field site, working with partner organisations in the statutory and voluntary sectors. We hope the outcome will lead to positive changes at a local level for anyone affected by dementia.  The Stirling site is led by Richard Ward and supported by Kainde Manji

You can find out more by visiting our project website


Professor Alison Bowes, Dr Alison Dawson & Dr Louise McCabe

The RemoAge project will tackle the challenge of supporting people with dementia and other frail older people to age in place in remote and sparsely populated areas of the northern periphery of Europe, where there are long distances and limited resources to meet the challenge. It will build on and roll out tested and evaluated service packages that aim to meet this challenge. The services have been designed and refined in an innovative way based on the experiences of the RemoDem project (implemented October 2012 to September 2014, and the experience from other relevant projects. The service package will include methods to support the frail older person with health and social care needs and their families in the home. The expected results are improved access to personalized services in the area of direct support in daily life, support to family carers, support to health personnel, and increased involvement of the community. The innovative and new approach in the RemoAge project is that it will build on and take advantage of a strategy of transnational learning and exchange of experiences in the different modules that the services are targeting and test services that have not previously been implemented and rolled out as a comprehensive service package.  The project is funded by the Northern Peripheries and Arctic programme and involves partners in Norway, Sweden, the Shetland Islands and the Western Isles. 

You can find out more at the project website

The role of volunteering in dementia care

This project explores the role of volunteering in dementia care and brings together the diverse areas of volunteering, dementia and housing. The project challenges the boundaries of volunteering and caring and gives insight to the important role of volunteers in the social networks of those with dementia.

Beginning in 2014, the project undertook a series of investigations including secondary analysis, surveys and interviews that includes volunteers, volunteer organisations, people living with dementia and carers. The results include insights into volunteering and dementia care across different settings throughout Scotland and England.

We have taken the experiences shared with us by volunteers, wider stakeholders, people living with dementia and carers to form a structured report that gives insights for those looking to work and support volunteers, those living with dementia and also carers. This has been used as the foundation to an overall guidance for practitioners called ASUME Volunteering in Dementia. This stands for Attract, Sustain, Understand, Motivate and Environment (ASUME). The ASUME website ( will be launching on 1st June 2017 and outlines an overview of the findings in this project in an easily accessible platform aimed at practitioners.  

The team in led by Dr Vikki McCall, Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing with Dr Louise McCabe, Senior Lecturer in Dementia Studies, Dr Alasdair Rutherford, Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Methods, Miss Feifi Bu, Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Mrs Shirley Law, Head of Learning & Development, DSDC. 

If you are interested in the project and have any questions contact:

The project runs from November 2014 – June 2017 and is funded by the Abbeyfield Research Foundation. We are working in partnership with Volunteer Scotland and the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC). We are also supported by the Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer Scotland and the Institute for Volunteering Research who sit on the steering group for the project

Health Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS)

Dr Alasdair Rutherford

Healthy Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS) is a study of people aged 50+ in Scotland. It collects data on their health, economic and social circumstances to help improve the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s older people. HAGIS is the first longitudinal study of Scotland’s older people – a study which follows individuals and households through time. Currently, in its pilot phase, HAGIS will interview 1000 individuals aged 50 and over in Scotland and collect detailed information on their health, economic and social circumstances. HAGIS will join the world family of longitudinal ageing studies which began in the USA with the Health and Retirement Study.

More information at:

Pathways Through Care

Dr Alasdair Rutherford

In this project we use linked health and social care data to explore the interactions of health and social care service for older people in Scotland. The aims of this research project are to compare the health and social care pathways for a cohorts of older people with dementia diagnose and/or multimorbidity, and to model the interaction of hospital admissions and social care services for this cohort.  This helps us to understand how health and social  care services complement each other in later life.

Older Persons Routine Acute Assessment (OPRAA)

Feifei Bu, Professor Emma Reynish, Dr Alasdair Rutherford & Rebecca Walesby 

  • The study sits in phase 0/1 of the Medical Research Councils Framework for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions.  It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research's Health Services and Delivery Research Programme. 
  • Led by the University of Stirling with University of Dundee collaborating


The key aim of this study is to improve understanding of the outcomes of emergency hospital admission in people with cognitive impairment and/or dementia.

A literature review of the current evidence and analysis of a unique large admission dataset will be used to examine outcomes for older people with cognitive impairment and dementia admitted as an acute medical emergency. This will provide the baseline for the development of an intervention for evaluation in the future.

The increased understanding that will result from the project is an essential component necessary for the next step in improving the quality of care for people with cognitive impairment in the general hospital.


a) Review of Outcomes: Review of current literature to obtain an understanding of the quality and type of evidence that exists about the prevalence of cognitive impairment in older people admitted to hospital as emergencies and associations with a spectrum of outcomes assessed or measured in this domain.

A second narrative review will look at the evidence available about outcomes that are most meaningful to people with cognitive impairment following an acute hospital admission.

b) Analysis of Outcomes: data-linkage then analysis of a unique routine population based healthcare dataset to measure healthcare and economic outcomes following hospital admission of older people with and without cognitive impairment and dementia.

c) Survey: A survey to carers asking what the key relevant outcomes are for people with cognitive impairment and their carers in the acute hospital setting


The findings will contribute to our understanding of the outcomes of patients with cognitive impairment in the general hospital and be of use for the development of interventions.

Other projects

Artlink Central – Creating Conversations

Dr Jane Robertson  & Dr Vikki McCall

Moving Memories

Dr Richard Ward

ICHOM - Dementia

Professor Emma Reynish

More information 

Carers Time Use

Professor Alison Bowes, Dr Alison Dawson & Dr Louise McCabe

Physical Activity in Care Holmes

Professor Alison Bowes, Dr Alison Dawson & Dr Louise McCabe

Music & Dementia

Dr Corrinne Greasley-Adams & Professor Emma Reynish [MF3] 


Read more about our past and current research projects 

Research Group Seminar: Understanding and improving outcomes

1st February 2017

The Dementia and Ageing Research Group at Stirling University brought together researchers from a large spectrum of backgrounds supporting a multidisciplinary exchange of ideas and methodologies with the common goal of improving lives.

Their research seminar on 1st Feb 2017 highlighted some of the ongoing ground-breaking research that was being carried out by the group in addition to hearing about related developments from three invited speakers.




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