Ulster is leading the way in research and knowledge translation in supporting older people and their families to navigate the transition associated with old age with a specific focus on reminiscence, family caregiving, technology in dementia and improving quality of life in care homes.
Programmes of work in this research theme include:
The impact of technology facilitated reminiscence on people living with dementia and their families
Our recently published research has highlighted the impact of reminiscence on quality of life, wellbeing and family relationships for people living with dementia and their family carers.
This has culminated in the development of a reminiscence app (InspireD), funded by the Public Health Agency and co-designed by people living with dementia and their families.
The findings of our research have informed a play ‘The Songbirds‘ written and performed by a local theatre company which has been seen by around 1500 people to date. This has resulted in a demonstrable improvement in audience members’ understanding of and attitudes towards people living with dementia.
Improving quality of life for residents, relatives and staff in care homes
This programme of research examines the factors influencing a positive transition to life in a care home from the perspective of residents, relatives and staff. Supported by a number of partners including Age NI, Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, Health and Social Care Trusts, Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP) and care homes, we’re exploring ways of supporting people who live in care homes to feel more ‘at home’.
Underpinned by our engagement with the international My Home Life network, our programme of work continues to show significant improvement in the leadership skills of care home managers and in the implementation of quality improvement initiatives across the care home sector.
The Department of Health has publicly stated that it will support the “implementation of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for people living in care homes such as the My Home Life initiative”.
Our work has also been cited as an example of best practice in the report ‘Power to People: Report of the Expert Advisory Panel on Adult Care and Support’ published by the Department of Health in 2017.
Our researchers are part of the international My Home Life Network with links in England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Germany and Japan. We are also represented on the All-Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association.
We have strong links with national and international academic institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Kansas, Albany University New York, University of the West of Scotland, Queens University Belfast, Swansea University, City University London, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and University College Limerick.
We also work closely with statutory, voluntary and independent sector organisations across the UK and Ireland. These include Engage With Age, Age NI, Dementia NI, Alzheimers Society, An Grianan Theatre, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP) and Health and Social Care Trusts across Northern Ireland.
Professor Assumpta RyanProfessor of Ageing and Health
Areas of expertise
- Family caregiving,
- Technology facilitated reminiscence in dementia
- Quality of life in care homes.