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Researchers ask how to best care for carers of people with dementia

Carers of people with dementia are being asked to help design a new support chat group.

The CQUniversity researchers behind the The Caring for Carers of People with Dementia Project said they’re hoping for input in the design of a program that will connect users via videoconference technology like Skype.

PhD researcher Annie Banbury said the project aims to reach carers who find it difficult to access existing carer support services and connect those who are more socially or geographically isolated.

“We know that the caring journey can be long and it can be quite hard, and one of things that research points to is that if you’re able to talk with other people about your experiences, about your journey, then that can relieve some of the pressure,” Banbury said.

Funded through a Dementia and Aged Care Services Research and Innovation Grant, the project and its design stage will be open to any type of carer, including spouses, children and, as is often the case in rural areas, friends.

Banbury said co-design is a creative process increasingly used within the health and social care services, as it enables a range of people to help express and solve a problem.

“A key principle is that participants are viewed as experts of their lived experience and central to the design process,” she explained.

“Participants will help us understand about carers of people with dementia and their lives, problems and needs, to shape our final chat group sessions.”

Banbury and co-researcher Adjunct Professor Lynne Parkinson invited any Queensland carer to be involved in the co-design group. Initially, the team would like a small number of carers of people with dementia to take part. “This will help us develop the resources and information needed for the planned weekly chat group,” Banbury said.

The eventual program will first roll-out across the Cairns hinterland, Central Queensland and Wide Bay regions.

Carers keen to be involved in the co-design group can contact Banbury via 0438 168 121 or Parkinson via 0410 574 005.

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