Caring for Me and You: A toolkit for carers of people with dementia


Lead Researcher: Dr Jane Fossey
Institute: Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Grant type: Project

This project is being generously supported by Nominet Trust, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Department of Health.

What do we already know?

It is estimated that 700,000 people in the UK are caring for someone with dementia. Much of the cost of dementia care is met by unpaid family carers, who save the UK economy £11.6 billion. Whilst caring can be a rewarding experience, it can also have negative effects on the carer as they cope with the changes that their loved one is going through and adaptations to their own lifestyle. Due to the progressive and unpredictable nature of the condition, carers of people with dementia often report high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. 

Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or tailored information and education packages can help people to cope with negative feelings and emotions. Whilst some therapy sessions occur at a doctor's or therapist's office, they are also increasingly being delivered online. This can help people to access support when they may find it difficult to find the time or necessary care cover to attend a face-to-face session.

What does this project involve?

This project aims to find out whether specially-developed online therapy packages can be effective in helping people caring for someone affected by dementia to reduce stress and improve their wellbeing.

The researchers are running a randomised controlled trial that will deliver one of three packages to the participants via a computer. The people taking part will be randomly allocated to one of the three packages: an online CBT package only; the online CBT package with additional telephone support; or a carer information and education about dementia.

The people taking part in the trial can work through the course at their own pace and have up to 26 weeks to complete 20 online sessions. Each session will take approximately 20-30 minutes. 

At the end of the study the researchers will analyse the results and then determine what has been most helpful for carers in improving their wellbeing.

How will this benefit people affected by dementia?

Dementia is a condition that not only has a profound effect on the person affected but on their loved ones as well; this is particularly true for family carers. It is essential that people who care for someone affected by dementia are given the tools and support they need to cope with their circumstances.  This includes being able to take care of their own wellbeing and manage their emotions 

Can I sign up for this trial?

If you a UK resident who currently helps to care for a person affected by dementia (for example a close friend, family member or neighbour), are experiencing mild symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression and are not already receiving professional mental health support you are eligible to sign up for the trial. 

You will need to have regular access to an internet-enabled PC or laptop. Unfortunately the software is not configured to run on Apple Macs or any tablet or mobile devices.

You can find out more information and sign up on the study's website.