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Dementia and Anxiety: The Relationship Between Caregivers and Care Recipients 

The Project

Dementia Anxiety_Read more about this projectAustralia has an ageing population. Each week there are more than 1800 newly diagnosed cases of dementia, most of whom will require residential care. This type of care accounts for 76% of service provision in Australia. More than 50% of clients have dementia bringing with it a complex set of needs and challenges.

As knowledge about biomedical aspects of dementia increases there is still a gap on developing strategies to care for and cope with a person with dementia. People with dementia regularly experience anxiety based on fear and worry often expressed as agitation or outbursts of aggression. This channel may be the only way a person is able to express their internal anxiety. The presence of agitation in the client adds strain on the caregiver which can manifest in issues such as psychological distress, burden and depression. Both parties therefore experience a high degree of anxiety.

Care usually involves direct personal interaction between caregiver and patient, through daily activities such as dressing, feeding and toileting. This translational research into dementia aims to highlight strategies to improve interaction and minimise anxiety and improve quality of care and quality of life for both parties.

The aim of this project is to engage with aged care providers and policy makers to define, scope and pilot a study which will specifically look at the relationship between caregiver and care recipient and anxiety experienced by both in residential care.

The Researchers

Dementia Anxiety_Meet the ResearchersThis project brings together researchers from a range of backgrounds, including Health, Social Sciences and Engineering.

Associate Professor Ping Yu is Director of Centre for IT-enabled Transformation in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at UOW. Her research area is e-health, with particular focus on the effective use of IT solutions to deliver high quality, low cost health and aged care services. She brings to the project extensive experience in research design, managing and delivering outcomes in industry-based, empirical research in health and aged care settings.

Associate Professor Victoria Traynor is the program lead for multidiscipinary postgraduate studies in aged and dementia care. She has twenty-five years’ experience in clinical, educational and research roles which has provided her with opportunities to influence the delivery of aged and dementia care services. She is currently course co-ordinator for PG degrees in Gerontology and Rehabilitation Studies, and Dementia Care. Victoria is a keen promoter of contemporary learning through digital media and would bring these skills to the project.

Dr Emma Barkus is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences at UOW. She completed her undergraduate and post graduate degrees in the UK before moving to UOW School of Psychology in 2010. Her research focuses on risk factors for psychosis, the investigation of cognitive enhancers and the development of tools to measure cognition in a more ecological manner.

Dr Mengxiang Li is a lecturer in School of Computing and Information Technology at UOW. He obtained his Ph.D. of Information Systems at City University of Hong Kong. His research interests include Electronic Commerce, Mobile Commerce, Gamification, NeuroIS, and Design of Human-Computer Interaction. His articles have appeared in prime academic journals such as Journal of MIS, Decision Support Systems, and International Journal of Electronic Commerce.

Dr Siyu Qian has completed her PhD study investigating nursing activities in residential aged care homes with observational method. She applies both quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods in her research. She brings to the project extensive experience with residential aged care work practices and skill to model activities.

Nicole Carrigan is a PhD candidate completing her training as a researcher and Clinical Psychologist through the School of Psychology. Nicole's research is on the impact of emotion regulation on cognitive functioning in everyday life, and how other factors such as age, time of day, stress, and loneliness mediate this relationship.

Helen Pavlik is a Registered Nurse – graduate of UoW, holds Graduate certificate in Aged Care Nursing from UniSA. 27 years of nursing experience overseas and Australia. 16 years in aged care holding various positions – RN, manager and most recently continuous quality improvement coordinator with Uniting. She has a passion for improving quality of life of people living in residential aged care. 

Last reviewed: 9 September, 2016

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