It is heart-breaking to see someone suffering from dementia with memory loss or an inability to carry out everyday tasks. Dementia is not a specific disease but is a term covering a range of symptoms associated with memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for most cases but there are other causes. To help research into the condition, volunteers are needed who have dementia, care for someone with the condition or healthy volunteers to act as a comparison.
Types of dementia studies
There are many ways to get involved in studies such as clinical trials, genetic studies or a survey or focus group, which can help develop new treatments, improve care for dementia patients and improve people’s understanding of dementia. If interested, you can join Dementia Research to take part in studies in your area. The studies could be clinical trials of new drugs or looking at links between lifestyle and the risk of dementia.
You can participate in other ways by completing a questionnaire, being interviewed about your experiences, sitting on a project steering group, or becoming a co-researcher who interviews participants and analyses data. By joining the Research Network, you will be part of a team of more than 280 carers, ex-carers and people who have dementia. The volunteers play an important part in the research programme by setting research priorities, developing proposals, taking part in consultations, campaigning, talking at events, speaking to the media, reviewing grant applications or monitoring projects. Whatever your area of expertise or interest, there is a role to suit you.
If you want to get involved as a career rather than a volunteer, you could train to be a clinical trials assistant. Clinical trial assistants provide administration and project support. They help with reporting, manage files, data input and take minutes for meetings. It is an interesting career as vacancies for clinical trial assistants are so varied. You will need good communication and computer skills, such as working with Excel or PowerPoint and inputting data. Further information about skills required can be found at http://www.gandlscientific.com/clinical-trial-assistants/.
Raising much-needed funds
If you cannot commit the time needed for a full-time job or a Research Network post, then you could get involved in dementia research studies by fund-raising. You could organise a one-off event such as a tea party or sponsored dog walk, for example.