Dr Alison Dawson
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
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.