Surveys of people with dementia

Surveys can be a dementia-friendly way to measure experience. They can take place face-to-face, using video or online.

Might a survey be the right method for you?


  • to ask a large number of people set questions about a specific topic.
  • to find out what people feel about services, to rank preferences, and to offer ideas for change and improvement.
  • to collect qualitative or quantitative data, or a mixture of both
    • especially if you are more interested in patterns revealed by numbers of responses to particular questions, rather than in understanding individual experience in depth.
  • if you can ensure enough consistency between locations where people will complete the survey.
  • if you have enough time, expertise, and resources for preparing (including piloting) and conducting the survey taking account of the needs of the people with dementia you want to complete it.
  • if you have checked that it will not coincide with other demands on the same people to complete surveys (too many surveys may lead to people not wanting to do more surveys, so it's best to plan your survey to fit well into plans for such activity in your organisation).

Maybe not

  • if the people with dementia are reliant on help from others to make their responses for them. There could be a risk that the true voice of the person with dementia will be lost through well-intentioned completion on their behalf.
  • for finding out about technical aspects or topics requiring use of complex language, especially where people have to answer the survey without support from someone expert in what the survey is about. 


  • if there's been - or is about to be - another similar survey with the same people you aim to reach. If there is another you could explore whether you can connect to it in some way. 
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