Dr Alison Dawson

Research interests and experience:

I have worked for more than a decade as a researcher in the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Stirling on projects relating to the provision of support to older people, including people with dementia, and their families. I am proud to be part of the research team at our Dementia Services Development Centre (‘DSDC’) and a member of our Dementia and Social Gerontology Research Group. DSDC was one of the UK’s first and is now one of its foremost University-based centres devoted to improving the lives of people with dementia. I am experienced in the day-to-day management of research teams and other aspects of project management including: writing applications for ethical approval; designing data capture instruments; data collection; data analysis; production of outputs, including final reports; and activities to support dissemination and knowledge exchange. My current and recent research interests include: • approaches to building dementia friendly communities; • challenges for people with dementia and other co-occurring conditions; • meaningful physical activity for older people, including people with dementia; and • time use in caring and supporting older people


‘RemoAge: remote support of aged people’ Funder EU Northern Peripheries and Arctic Programme, 2015-2018. Lead partner: County Council of Norbotten, Sweden, total budget 2m Euros. (Named researcher for Stirling team, contributed text to proposal).
‘Sight loss, dementia and meaningful activity: A scoping study’, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, February-May 2015, £9,877 (P.I. with Co-Investigators Bowes, A., McCabe, L., Poulson, J. and Theakstone, D.).
‘Personalised physical activity for people with dementia in care homes’. April 2015-March 2018, £299,866. Funder: Healthcare Management trust (‘HMT’). (Co-investigator with Bowes, A., Jepson, R. (Univ. of Edinburgh) and McCabe, L.)
‘Designing environments for people with dementia: a structured literature review’. November 2014-April 2015, £19,930. Funder: Dementia Services Development Trust. (Co-Investigator with Bowes, A.)
‘Best practice in the design of residential environments for people living with dementia and sight loss – Stage 2, Activities ensuring impact’. October 2013-June 2014. £16,885. Funder: Thomas Pocklington Trust. (Co-Investigator with Bowes, A., McCabe, L. and Andrews, J.)
‘Promotion of dementia standards: literature review’, funded by SCSWIS (Care Inspectorate), October 2012-March 2013, £38,054. (Co-investigator with Bowes, A., Kelly, F. And Ward, R.)
‘Best practice in the design of residential environments for people living with dementia and sight loss – Stage 1, Resource development’, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, October 2012 – September 2013, £58,774. (Co-Investigator with Bowes, A., McCabe, L. and Andrews, J.)
‘Support of people with dementia in remote areas’ (‘RemoDem’)’, funded by the European Union Northern Peripheries Programme 2007-2013 9th Call for main projects, October 2012 – September 2014, €646,791 (£37,228 to Stirling). (Named researcher for Stirling team, contributed text to proposal).

What attracted you to this research project?

Across the UK, many families’ lives have already been touched by dementia, mine included. This will increasingly be the case in the future as more of us live longer. We do not know if or when cures for the many different kinds of dementia will be available, but we do know that there will be people living with dementia for the foreseeable future. We also know that improving these people’s lives in even small ways can make a huge difference to them and to their families. My interest in this project stems from my belief that what is planned has the potential to improve lives and to benefit people with dementia, their families and care home staff. This research can help us to develop ways to make opportunities to participate in activities that simultaneously provide physical activity whilst imparting a sense of purpose and worth a part of the everyday lives of people with dementia living in care homes. Regularly participating in activities which are familiar and meaningful to them can contribute to residents’ sense of purpose and greater self-esteem and in doing so contribute to their sense of wellbeing. Relatives would welcome and be comforted by such changes. Supporting residents with dementia to carry out such activities also has the potential to enhance the relationships between individual residents and staff and in doing so to enrich the working lives of those who provide care to residents.


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Additional Information