Supporting deaf carers of people with dementia

Research project: Dem - Deaf Carers. Developing a new model of carer support accessible for deaf people.

Lead Investigator: Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman

  • Institution: University of Manchester  
  • Grant type: Junior Fellowship
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Amount: £223,009

Why did we fund this research?

The project presents as a practical and valuable contribution to an area with identified needs and potential for positive change.

Project summary

This project will work with deaf carers, using their experience and views, to develop a new model of carer support that is accessible for deaf people. This is the first time deaf carers will have been consulted from service design through to the delivery of a culturally appropriate intervention.

The background 

No research studies to date have examined deaf carers’ everyday roles, strengths, and the challenges they may face. It is not known how deaf carers are burdened, both financially and emotionally, by taking on the role of caring for someone with dementia.

Deaf carers fall through statutory legislation as minority language users which means their needs are not recognised or met by mainstream support organisations. 

What does this project involve?

The project will use co-production techniques and interviews to develop a pilot intervention that is bespoke to the cultural and linguistic needs of deaf carers. Deaf carers will be trained to become co-inquirers, which will give them the opportunity to interview one another in their own language BSL (British Sign Language).

There will be three areas of support developed, refined and tested with and by carers:

  • Online information about dementia
  • Informal support networks
  • And a formal training package.

How will this project help people with dementia?

Deaf carers who are BSL users will be empowered and enabled to seek support for their family member while they are living with dementia.

Deaf people living with dementia may be re-introduced back into their local communities as their carers will be better equipped to enter effective dialogue with their peers and support them in understanding more about the condition.