Why is research in dementia care important

Understanding why the need for research into the care, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of dementias and other age-related conditions is more important now than ever.

What is research?

To conduct research means to gather information and examine it in a systematic way. It helps organizations like ours to avoid biases and incorrect assumptions about topics such as 1) what is important to caregivers and 2) what services and supports work for families. This ensures that our programs are based on the best possible evidence AND that they are relevant to families’ needs.

We also want to make sure that the families who attend enjoy our programs! Sometimes research is done to learn about caregivers’ experiences, such as when we conduct qualitative interview studies. Recently, Sara Masoud, MPH, interviewed families living with dementia about their experiences at our Memory Cafe program.

Other times, we want to know if a program works, so we may ask families to answer survey questions before and after participating in an event. Jennifer Brackett, MS Gerontology, is working with families to learn whether the Learning Skills Together program increases caregivers’ confidence with complex care, such as home safety and managing medications.

Some of our studies help us to understand how something works, such as how social support affects caregivers’ health. We might ask survey questions, but sometimes we also collect biological samples to objectively examine differences in caregivers’ physical health. Caring for the Caregiver Director Carole White, PhD, RN & Kylie Meyer, PhD is currently asking caregivers to participate in daily surveys and provide saliva samples to learn how social experiences alter the stress hormone cortisol day-to-day.

If you have any questions about research being done at the Caring for the Caregiver Program, please contact Kylie Meyer at meyerk1@uthscsa.edu.

To learn more about research in our community click HERE.



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