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Dementia and ageing research

Dementia affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, and is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among the elderly. In the UK, around 850,000 people have dementia, with that number projected to rise to one million by 2025. Dementia has a physical, psychological, social, and economic impact, not only on people with dementia, but also on their carers, families and society at large. Against this backdrop, there is a high demand for evidence-led ideas that can enhance the lives of people with dementia and those who care for them.

We find innovative solutions to the challenges of ageing and dementia that are enabling older people to live independent lives, for longer.

Promoting wellbeing

The Dementia and Ageing Research Group at the University of Stirling carries out multidisciplinary, policy- and practice-relevant research that embraces the perspectives of people with dementia and those who support them. The group brings together a vast mix of skills, from doctors and nurses to economists, psychologists, social workers and artists – all working towards a common goal of promoting better wellbeing and quality of life.

"Scotland has a reputation as a world leader in innovation and research and it is great to see the vital contribution by the University of Stirling to one of society's most pressing problems."

Lord Ian Duncan, UK Government Minister

Our Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) helps to translate our research into policy-informing practice. It houses a design and technology suite showcasing inspiring technology and equipment, a virtual care home that allows for visualisation of new ideas, and a conference centre which hosts regular international masterclasses bringing together dementia-care experts from around the world.

infographic: Our research

Our research

into ageing and dementia is enabling older people to live independent lives for longer

infographic: Innovative ideas

Innovative ideas

Our award-winning Iridis app facilitates the implementation of dementia design principles

infographic: UoS expertise

UoS expertise

has been influential in informing telehealthcare delivery in Scotland and Europe

Innovation

Our projects include the Iridis app, launched in 2017, in collaboration with Space Group. The app is the first in a suite of technologies to assess and provide feedback on how suitable a residence, care facility or other environment is for older people, particularly those with dementia. The app has been downloaded more than 1,000 times by users all over the world, and in 2018 it won the ‘Best Collaborative’ category the Blackwood Design Awards (BDA) – an international contest held to promote concepts and ideas that have the potential to change lives and help people with disabilities live life to the full.

Research conducted at the University has also been influential in informing telecare and telemedicine implementation in Scotland and throughout Europe. Telehealthcare involves enhancing healthcare, public health and health education through the support and use of telecommunications technologies.

Professor Alison Bowes of the Faculty of Social Sciences evaluated a pioneering project commissioned by the Health Foundation to normalise the use of telecare in the homes of older people. The project provided Smart equipment to everyone of retirement age in West Lothian Council (10,000 homes), and demonstrated a range of benefits – from showing the potential for large-scale roll-outs to the impact of telecare on reducing the stigma of needing support. The work also provided the foundation for participation in an EU funded project with Norwegian and Danish partners, and led to our research being translated into the Model for Assessment of Telemedicine (MAST) manual.

The MAST manual – which helps health and social care providers make decisions about when, where and how to roll out telehealthcare to people with long-term conditions – was subsequently adopted by the British Thoracic Society, Recherche Clinique Santé Publique (Paris), the Basque Office for Health Technology Assessment and the Danish Regions in their Telemedicine Strategy.

Research conducted at the University has been influential in informing telecare and telemedicine implementation in Scotland and throughout Europe.

Intergenerational living

Groundbreaking plans to create an Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub and village in Clackmannanshire have been developed by the University. The Hub will act as a test-bed for the latest technological, health and social care, architectural, and streetscape solutions to living well in older age. It will also enable communities to live together in a way that is sustainable, and provides benefit and support to all.

Related news

University staff with Lord Duncan

University showcases world-leading ageing and dementia research to UK Government Minister

Senior UK politician, Lord Duncan, visited the University to hear about its internationally renowned work on ageing and dementia.

campus landscape

World experts on dementia and design to gather in Stirling for major conference

International Masterclass will bring together specialists from four continents to discuss design innovation, research and policy development. 

iridis app logo

Innovative dementia app wins international design award

An innovative app which helps improve home environments for people living with dementia has won an international award for ‘best collaborative’ project.

Related publications

Time for care: exploring time use by carers of older people (Forthcoming/Available Online)
Bowes A, Dawson A & Ashworth R (2019) Time for care: exploring time use by carers of older people (Forthcoming/Available Online). Ageing and Society. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X19000205 

Designing Environments for People with Dementia: A Systematic Literature Review (Forthcoming)
Bowes A & Dawson A (2019) Designing Environments for People with Dementia: A Systematic Literature Review (Forthcoming). Bingley: Emerald. http://ebiz.turpin-distribution.com/products/373080-designing-environments-for-people-with-dementia-a-systematic-literature-review.aspx

Planning and design of ageing communities
Phillips J (2018) Planning and design of ageing communities. In: Skinner M, Andrews G & Cutchin M (eds.) Geographical Gerontology: Perspectives, Concepts, Approaches. Routledge Studies in Human Geography. London: Routledge, pp. 68-79. https://www.routledge.com/Geographical-Gerontology-Perspectives-Concepts-Approaches/Skinner-Andrews-Cutchin/p/book/9781138241152

Down's syndrome and dementia
Watchman K & Quinn S (2019) Down's syndrome and dementia. In: Jackson G & Tolson D (eds.) Textbook of Dementia Care. London: Routledge, pp. 178-186. https://www.crcpress.com/Textbook-of-Dementia-Care-An-Integrated-Approach/Jackson-Tolson/p/book/9781138229242 

Issues with the Measurement of Informal Care in Social Surveys: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Rutherford AC & Bu F (2018) Issues with the Measurement of Informal Care in Social Surveys: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Ageing and Society, 38 (12), pp. 2541-2559. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X17000757

Connectivity of older people in rural areas
Hennessy, CH and Means, R. (2018) Connectivity of older people in rural areas. In: A. Walker (ed.) The New Dynamics of Ageing, Bristol: The Policy Press, pp.147-166. https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/the-new-dynamics-of-ageing-volume-1

Epidemiology and outcomes of people with dementia, delirium, and unspecified cognitive impairment in the general hospital: prospective cohort study of 10,014 admissions
Reynish, E.L., Hapca, S.M., De Souza, N., Cvoro, V., Donnan, P.T. and Guthrie, B. (2017) Epidemiology and outcomes of people with dementia, delirium, and unspecified cognitive impairment in the general hospital: prospective cohort study of 10,014 admissions. BMC Medicine, 15 (140), DOI 10.1186/s12916-017-0899-0

Family meetings in inpatient specialist palliative care: a mechanism to convey empathy
Forbat, L. François, K., O’Callahan, L. and Kulikowski, J. (2018) Family meetings in inpatient specialist palliative care: A mechanism to convey empathy. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 55 (5), pp. 1253-1259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.01.020

Facilitating creativity in dementia care: the co-construction of arts-based engagement
Robertson, J. and McCall, V. (2019) Facilitating creativity in dementia care: the co-construction of arts-based engagement. Ageing & Society, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X18001575

The lived neighbourhood: understanding how people with dementia engage with their local environment
Ward, R., Clark, A., Campbell, S., Graham, B., Kullberg, A., Manji, K., Rummery, K. and Keady, J. (2018) The lived neighbourhood: understanding how people with dementia engage with their local environment. International Psychogeriatrics, 30 (6), pp. 867-880, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610217000631

Scaffolding and working together: a qualitative exploration of strategies for everyday life with dementia
McCabe, L., Robertson, J. and Kelly, F. (2018) Scaffolding and working together: a qualitative exploration of strategies for everyday life with dementia. Age and Ageing, 47 (2), pp. 303–310, https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afx186

Person-centred assessment to integrate care for older people
Philp I, Tugay K, Hildon Z, Aw S, Jeon Y, Naegle M, Michel J, Namara AA, Wang N & Hardman M (2017) Person-centred assessment to integrate care for older people. In: Global Consultation on Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) – the path to universal health coverage. Background Paper, 2. Global Consultation on Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) – the path to universal health coverage, Berlin, Germany, 23.10.2017-25.10.2017. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation. http://www.who.int/ageing/health-systems/icope/icope-consultation/en/ Philp I, Tugay K, Hildon Z, Aw S, Jeon Y, Naegle M, Michel J, Namara AA, Wang N & Hardman M (2017) Person-centred assessment to integrate care for older people. In: Global Consultation on Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) – the path to universal health coverage. Background Paper, 2. Global Consultation on Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) – the path to universal health coverage, Berlin, Germany, 23.10.2017-25.10.2017. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation. Ward R, Clark A, Campbell S, Graham B, Kullberg A, Manji K, Rummery K & Keady J (2018) The lived neighbourhood: understanding how people with dementia engage with their local environment. International Psychogeriatrics, 30 (6), pp. 867-880. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610217000631

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