Meet Nathan Davies, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Centre for Ageing Population Studies at UCL in London.
- Book – A thousand splendid suns, by Khaled Hosseini.
- Way to spend time – Cooking.
- Memory – Being on holiday with my family as a child in Disney World Florida. I remember being so excited to meet all the Disney characters and it still makes me smile today.
Why dementia research?
When I was doing my master’s degree in mental health, I started volunteering at a local hospital and met several older people who had dementia. I remember bonding with many instantly, especially some of the men who were so happy to see a male volunteer! I was inspired and moved on to work in memory clinics.
I remember having this massive desire to do more to support people and in particular families, who were often quite unhappy and stressed.
I felt I could do more in research than I could individually if I pursued a clinical psychologist career, which was my original intention.
How has Alzheimer’s Society supported your work?
They were the first to fund my research. They funded my early post-doctoral work which developed support for professionals caring for people living with dementia towards the end of life. They have also funded my current fellowship, developing support for family carers.
What are you currently working on?
I have developed – with people living with dementia, family carers and practitioners – a decision aid to support carers to plan or make decisions about care towards the end of life.
This is being used in a feasibility study and we are still looking for more volunteers to use it and tell us what they think.
Based on this, we have also developed a decision aid specifically for family carers of someone living with dementia who has coronavirus.
What difference do you hope this will make?
We hope our coronavirus work will help family carers feel supported, and prepared when making emotive and difficult decisions about their relatives’ care.
For example, many decisions may need to be made quickly, such as should their relative go to hospital if they become unwell, or what treatment should they have.
In what direction would you like to take your research in future?
I am really interested in looking at how we can support both people living with dementia and families to use technology, specifically the internet.
I would like to develop more support that people can access direct from their own home.
The current pandemic has demonstrated how vital it is to be able to access support and services from our own homes. The internet and technology are key to enabling this.
Alzheimer’s Society funds research into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia. We are dedicated to defeating dementia through research.