Thesis title: Developing an inclusive model of volunteering to reduce social isolation for people living with young onset dementia
Rose has a background in Psychology and working and volunteering in mental health services. Since moving to Edinburgh in 2019 she has been working in older people’s care and facilitating therapeutic groups for people living with young onset dementia. She is interested in understanding how we can improve services and support for people affected by young onset dementia. Specifically focusing on identifying ways to improve access to meaningful occupation, such as volunteering opportunities and/or identifying how volunteer services can better support people. She began her PhD in February 2020 and is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.
I am researching volunteering and voluntary activity for people living with young onset dementia. I am motivated by a concern over the lack of age-appropriate support provisions for people with young onset dementia across the UK and the risk this could create for social isolation. Research has demonstrated that age-appropriate support is needed, however, research which considers ways to address this is limited.
When considering research impact, there is a growing awareness of the importance of involving people in the research which relates to them. The importance of inclusion in research is reflected in the literature on service development for people living with young onset dementia. Importantly, the participation of people living with dementia in research can add to its credibility and addresses issues of power in the research relationship. Therefore, I have decided to employ a Co-operative Inquiry methodology for the work, which will involve recruiting people with young onset dementia as paid co-researchers to the project. I plan to work with the group to collaboratively explore definitions and experiences of volunteering, to identify access issues and barriers, and to develop a volunteering model which prioritises inclusivity.