University of Derby joins European project to help carers

The provider is the only UK university to be part of a project aimed at supporting caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease

Carers of people with Alzheimer’s will have access to an ICT ‘toolkit’ to combat isolation, thanks to researchers at the University of Derby.

The University of Derby is the only UK provider involved in a new, three-year project to improve the lives of carers for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + Knowledge alliance programme, the Co-Care project aims to stimulate the development of user-led ICT-based Alzheimer care solutions.

Researchers at the University of Derby – in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and Derby-based e-learning development agency Marked Improvement – will collaborate with organisations from across Europe to develop:

  • A training course for health, ICT and social studies students that will result in software to meet the needs of Alzheimer’s care-givers
  • A toolkit for informal carers helping them choose technology that lets them connect with peers and stay healthy
  • An online community of practice

“This project aims to tackle the challenges in the sector by ensuring technology is designed in a way that specifically addresses the carer or end user’s needs, in a way that helps them embrace the technology,” said Dr Jamie Bird, senior lecturer in health and social care research at the University of Derby.

“The University of Derby is pleased to be part of this multi-country project and to have played an important role from the beginning in helping to develop the ideas. We will be contributing to all elements of the project, with a particular focus on the identification of existing practice, the design and delivery of training and tool-kits, and the evaluation of the project.”

Colin Capper, head of research development and evaluation at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “At a time when people affected by dementia are experiencing increasing isolation, the use of technology has never been more important.

“The reality is that people with dementia and their carers are bearing the brunt of the pandemic – they have been the worst hit in terms of deaths and thousands more are struggling to cope. In March and April alone, we received over 7,500 calls to our Dementia Connect Support Line, so it’s clear that people affected by dementia are in desperate need of support.

“We are delighted to be partners in this collaboration and we will continue to ensure that it is shaped by the insights and experiences of people living with dementia and their carers. This is the only way to ensure healthcare technology solutions tackle the needs of those caring for people with dementia effectively.”

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