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Could you contribute to dementia research?

With dementia cited by many as their number one fear for older life, and dementia rates predicted to soar over the coming decades, the need for research into this devastating condition has never been more urgent.

Evidence from dementia charities suggest there are no shortage of people willing to help research projects taking place, but data protection laws prevent researchers contacting people directly. This is important to protect people's privacy, but it makes recruiting people to take part in studies time-consuming and expensive and therefore, ultimately, a barrier to progress.

So now the NHS has launched its website Join Dementia Research with the specific aim of helping to match potential  volunteers with research projects taking place across the UK.

Goiz-Eder Aspe Juaristi, Dementia challenge project manager at Nottingham University Hospitals explains...

"It's a matchmaking website where people interested in taking part in research express their interest and it puts them in touch with local researchers conducting research in the area. It could cover all areas like the effects of lifestyle, drugs, alcohol and all sorts of things."

It's a different way of doing things. But it's more accessible and anyone can join in and it puts these people in touch and they can get in contact much easier. This is the only way to make progress – we need to make that happen."

For more information, click here to link through to the Join Dementia Research website, and take a couple of minutes to watch the official YouTube video clip below.

Exploring the impact of swimming on dementia

Keeping active is an important part of staying healthy and giving you the best chance of managing to live well with dementia. So earlier this year, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) launched a pilot scheme in Manchester and Durham to make it easier, and more enjoyable, for people with dementia and their carers to access swimming sessions.

The aim of the Dementia Friendly Swimming Project is to build up a network of dementia friendly swimming pools, training staff and health care professionals to make them aware of some of the challenges faced by people living with dementia so that they can see what changes need to be made at the pool to create a warm, friendly and safe environment.

The pilot scheme running in Manchester is proving a huge success and has won several local awards. Already, participants are reporting positive results, including improvements in their sense of wellbeing, and the ASA are optimistic that these will continue to build as the scheme progresses.

The ASA firmly believe that swimming holds the possibility of providing many benefits that can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia. They stress that:

  • Swimming can offer a sense of mental wellbeing, something which cannot be easily measured but is mentioned by thousands of participants.
  • It helps clear the mind, encourages positivity in individuals and builds a sense of self-worth.
  • Swimming can soothe the mind and reduce anxiety
  • It can relax the body by supporting it in a relatively weightless environment
  • It can offer opportunities to socialise.
  • It can reduce loneliness and contribute to creating a sense of place.

Gathering evidence of success is an important part of the project explains Lara Lill, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the ASA.

​We decided that we wanted to make sure that we gather all the evidence because there is very little research that exists on swimming and dementia. So this is groundbreaking research.

​We can't prove that swimming can cure dementia, but we can show it improves a person's quality of life.​

Lara Lill 
Amateur Swimming Association                 
Lara Lill

For more information visit the
ASA Dementia Friendly Swimming Hub
http://www.swimming.org/dementiafriendly/

Article first published www.compassionatecareforall.org 15/10/15