UNIVERSITY of Worcester bosses have welcomed a new Professor of Family Care in Dementia to help enhance the experience of those caring for someone living with the condition.
Tracey Williamson joins the Association for Dementia Studies as part of a partnership between the University and Dementia Carers Count – formerly the Royal Surgical Aid Society.
There are currently around 700,000 family and friends caring for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and it is expected that there will be 1.2million people with dementia by 2040. Supporting family carers will be even more important as the number of people living with dementia continues to grow.
Professor Williamson said her new role would highlight the challenges faced by families and carers of those living with the condition.
“There is still much work to do to create better understanding of the challenges and opportunities a caring role brings and to identify ways of helping carers to feel more supported, empowered and resilient, and I look forward to being a part of it,” she said.
Professor Williamson currently works at the University of Salford as Reader in Public Involvement, Engagement & Experience and enjoyed a clinical career as a an NHS nurse working in older people’s care settings before undertaking a PhD through a Department of Health fellowship.
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.
Professor Dawn Brooker, director of the Association for Dementia Studies, said: “Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency worldwide and families provide the majority of support for those diagnosed.
However, a large number of studies suggest that family carers experience high levels of stress, symptoms of depression, poor health and social isolation.
Claire Goodchild, CEO of Dementia Carers Count, said: “Currently there is very little research into carers of people with dementia, which means that very few evidence-based services exist.
“We want to ensure that our services are based on evidence of outcomes and encourage others to do so, too, and in the future we’ll use the research findings to support campaigns that influence policy and raise public awareness about dementia carers.”