WISERD gives briefing on IDEAL study in the National Assembly for Wales

On Tuesday 2nd May, WISERD Director, Professor Ian Rees Jones gave an assembly briefing on the IDEAL study, which explores factors that influence the possibility of living well with dementia. The project, which started in 2014, seeks to identify changes that could result in improved well-being and quality of life for both individuals with dementia, and those who care for them.

Professor Jones’ session, ‘Living well with Dementia: What does the evidence say?’ took place in the Futures Gallery at the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay. The session was organised by Cardiff University as part of a series designed to bring together academic research with topical conversations around policy.

Attendees included representatives from the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Alzheimer’s Society, the Mental health Foundation, Age Cymru and Gofal. Dai Lloyd AM and Chair of the assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee was also in attendance, along with Cardiff Central AM, Jenny Rathbone.

Professor Jones addressed the concept of ‘living well with dementia’, including its relevance to UK and Welsh Government policies, and shared some preliminary findings from the first wave of qualitative research. The team are now undertaking analysis of this stage before going back out into the field in the autumn.

Professor Jones emphasised the importance of the project: “It is vital to ensure that people with dementia and the family members who care for them are able to experience a good quality of life and live well with the condition, even when faced with difficult decisions and transitions. The IDEAL study is a unique resource of a large, established UK longitudinal cohort, focused specifically on living well with dementia.”

Following the presentation, Cardiff Central AM, Jenny Rathbone chaired a question and answer session led to discussions around how best to obtain the views and feelings of people with dementia, especially those who are often hard to reach; the importance of neighbourhood and environment for people with dementia and how access can be improved; and the implications of supporting social relationships for policy initiatives.

Professor Jones said: “The IDEAL study is still collecting data but is now moving into an exciting phase of analysis and interpreting preliminary findings. The IDEAL team are also working on new ideas for developing further research opportunities on the basis of what we have learned so far. We hope our results will be of real value for people with dementia and can inform policy development and collaborations across different sectors and groups.”

For more information about the qualitative research stage of this project, read our blog.