There are 700,000 family and friends caring for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. It is expected that there will be 1.2m people with dementia by 2040; leading to increased pressure on resources to support the growing number of carers.
A partnership between the University of Worcester and Dementia Carers Count (formerly the Royal Surgical Aid Society) has created a new post specifically aimed at improving understanding of the experience of family carers.
The new post of "DCC Professor of Family Care in Dementia" is currently being advertised to lead on research in this important area. Dementia Carers Count and the University's Association for Dementia Studies have worked in partnership since 2012 to develop a national service offer to support families caring for a person living with dementia. They have agreed to jointly fund a professorship to increase research centred on family carers and improve the profile of the challenges that they face.
Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of the Association for Dementia Studies, said: "Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency worldwide. It is frequently overwhelming, not only for the person diagnosed, but also for their families.
"Between 2012 and 2016, Dementia Carers Count commissioned the Association for Dementia Studies to undertake a literature review and to review practice relating to the experience and services available to carers of people with dementia. Families provide the majority of support for people with dementia and most families want to care as long as they can. However, a large number of studies suggest that family carers experience high levels of stress, symptoms of depression, poor health and social isolation.
"Unless we can support families over time these levels of distress place intolerable demands on the person with dementia and their family carers. This new Professor post will be grounded in the family experience and help us to identify practical and accessible ways to build resilience long term. They will work as part of the team at Worcester who have extensive expertise in person-centred dementia care."
Claire Goodchild, CEO of Dementia Carers Count, added: "Our carers" consultation found that 40% of the 700,000 people in the UK who care for someone with dementia look after that person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In total these unpaid carers provide £11.6bn worth of care. We include friends as well as family in the services and support we provide, helping them to feel supported in their caring role. It could be a husband, a daughter, a close friend; all facing the huge challenge of looking after someone who really needs them.
"The Professor of Family Care in Dementia will lead in helping Dementia Carers Count to further understand the experience, needs and outcomes of family carers of people with dementia, as a key part of our future Research Unit. We will draw on this research to campaign for greater recognition and support for carers.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue and strengthen our partnership with the Association for Dementia Studies, by establishing together this critical role.
To view the job description click here.