We are now in the second phase of our data collection here in Greater Manchester. We continue to be delighted by the number of people who volunteer their time to tell us their stories. We have now recruited 55 participants most of whom took part in the first phase of data collection and so far we have had opportunity to visit two thirds of them one year on. We will be visiting the remainder over the next few months.
We continue to be fascinated by the ways in which neighbourhoods can support people living with dementia and their families in their everyday lives. Our data consists of many fascinating interviews, walks, photographs, diaries and films. We have been privileged to have completed 34 walks, 44 Social Network Maps and 28 home tours with our participants. This has given us a unique insight into how people live day to day with dementia in their communities.
We are continuing to undertake data collection and analysis, and are developing ideas for the next stage of the project in which we begin to develop practical applications.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported the project so far from participants and their families to advisors and members of our Action Learning Set.
Andrew and Sarah
(University of Salford and University of Manchester)
It’s been a busy few months for the Stirling team, though it honestly seems like only yesterday that I started working on the project. In that time we’ve completed recruiting participants for the first phase of the project, and are so grateful to everyone who has been so generous with their time. We’ve spoken to 47 people in total from across the central belt of Scotland including 15 couples, 7 people living with dementia who are living alone, and 8 carers of people living with dementia who are in residential care. We have sadly had to say goodbye to Kirsty Alexander, who had been working with us as a research assistant, and I know so enjoyed getting to work with many of you. Kirsty leaves us to retrain as a horticulturalist, and I’m sure you’ll want to join me in wishing her all the best for the future.
Part of my role since taking up this post has also been working to bring together and make sense of all the things we have learned since starting this project. This has involved working with colleagues across the three sites to draw out key themes that will help us to analyse our findings. We were really fortunate to be able to host the teams from Sweden and Manchester in Stirling in July, which was a great opportunity to share our experiences from the different sites. While there are obviously local particularities, we were all struck by how similar our findings are. Over the coming months we will dig deeper into our data and start to pull out key findings that will help to inform our locally based interventions. We are really delighted with the response we’ve had from people we’ve approached to work in partnership with us, and are very excited about the difference this could make helping people living with dementia to stay connected to their neighbourhoods for as long as possible. Watch this space for further updates on the intervention as it develops.
Finally, I’ve had the enormous privilege of getting to meet some of our early participants as we commence our second round of interviews. So-far I’ve met with nine people who had originally met with Barbara many months ago. I have so enjoyed the opportunity to speak to you about your experiences and to get an update on how you have been since you last met with us. I’m very much looking forward to speaking to more of you over the coming months.
Richard Ward & Kainde Manji
(University of Stirling)
The last few months have been a time of change at the Stirling site. We have two new researchers, Kirsty Alexander and Kainde Manji (our new research fellow), who are continuing with the fieldwork interviews. Most of our participants were visited by Barbara Graham, our first research fellow. Barbara has now returned to Northern Ireland, but was glad to have met so many wonderful people from the Forth Valley and East Dunbartonshire during her time working on the Our Neighbourhoods project.
We have also ventured into new neighbourhoods by expanding the area covered for the fieldwork. In March 2016, we decided to reach out to organisations, people living with dementia and their carers from across the entire central belt of Scotland. We did this with the hope of finding more people interested in taking part in the research, and we are very pleased to report that we now have new participants from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Kinross. This means that we can understand the experiences of people living with dementia and carers who are from a range of urban and rural neighbourhoods – from those in inner cities and on the city outskirts to neighbourhoods in towns and villages.
We are very grateful to all of our 41 participants for welcoming us into their homes and sharing their experiences with us. So far 20 people living with dementia and 21 family carers have volunteered to take part in the project. We would also like to thank staff from a range of local organisations who have been more than generous with their time and effort. They have helped us network, distribute information and be in touch with potential volunteers.
As the first round of interviews come to a close, the next few months will be spent analysing our findings with our co-researchers in Manchester and Linköping ahead of commencing the second round in the Autumn.
Richard Ward, Kainde Manji and Kirsty Alexander
(University of Stirling)