Pilot study launched into dementia in rural communities

A new pilot study has been launched to investigate how farmers, their families and caregivers in rural communities cope when they are affected by dementia - and consider the types of services needed to provide support.   

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‘Farming, Dementia and Networks of Care’ will explore the impact of dementia on farming businesses and rural communities, with the aim of providing better understanding of dementia in the countryside.

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Findings of the study, which will begin as a pilot in Devon, will also consider the impact of dementia on farming businesses  to evaluate how dementia also affects farming families and communities to consider how voluntary and state agencies can support farming families with dementia.

According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Society, the UK will see an increase of up to 156 per cent in dementia cases between now and 2051.

With funding supplied by the Seale Hayne Educational Trust and support from a steering group, the project will be carried out by Plymouth University.

Dr. Richard Yarwood, from Plymouth University who will be leading the study, said: “This project is a starting point and we hope that it will be useful to care agencies and provide support for farming families affected by dementia.

“We will be making our key findings public and we hope in turn that this will lead to a wider understanding of dementia in rural places. We plan to build on this small-scale project to develop applications for future research into the care of those with dementia in the countryside.”

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Ian Sherriff, who will assist on the study and is also chair of a goverment Rural Dementia group, said: “The search for ways to enhance the quality of life for those affected is a constant and complex one.  This innovative research will provide a body of knowledge that has the potential to open up new ways that the farming community can understand and support people with dementia and their carers, in rural communities.”