RESEARCHERS in Bradford are hoping to help find a new way of measuring the impact that looking after someone with dementia has on the quality of life of carers.

A three-year study is being run by a project team of academics from the University of Bradford and University of Leeds, as well as from other cities across the UK, including Cambridge, Birmingham and Bangor, who are aiming to discover the reality of caring for someone with dementia.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is also a partner in the project, along with the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK, Young Dementia and Carers UK.

The project was using today – World Alzheimer’s Day – to acknowledge the huge and hidden contribution made by the carers of people living with dementia, said Professor Jan Oyebode, of the University of Bradford, a co-investigator on the study.

Studies at the Doctoral Training Centre focus on improving care at points of transition for people affected by dementia. As part of the study, named DECIDE , carers from across Yorkshire have been sharing the reality of their lives by talking to researchers, funded by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Professor Oyebode said: “These interviews highlight that dementia is a family affair, affecting all aspects of the lives of relatives as well as those who live with dementia. It is vital that services support carers and we hope our measure will provide a tool that promotes recognition of their needs.”

Researchers already know that while dementia is a progressive condition, many people live well with it for many years but caring for someone with the condition can be hugely stressful. However, there is support available and many carers develop new friendships as a result of attending dementia cafes, for example, along with the person they care for.

Dr Penny Wright, of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, who is leading the study, said: “We hear often about how difficult it is for people living with dementia and rightly so – but what about carers’ quality of life? The interviews we’ve done bring this into sharp focus. We hope this research will lead to development of a new measure with potential impact in three areas: identification of carers most at need, to inform development and evaluation of services, and for possible use in heath economics.”

Dr Catherine Moody, programme manager for neurodegeneration and stroke at the Medical Research Council, said: “The findings could have important implications for the way the quality of life of these dementia carers is measured, and should in turn improve the provision of vital help, advice and support services.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about dementia research locally should go to