Crowds in the street



PhD opportunities through Wellcome Centre


We have PhD opportunities for outstanding candidates as part of the University of Exeter's £4.1 million multidisciplinary Wellcome Centre. See here for more details. Please contact Professor Linda Clare to express your interest with details of your proposed project.


Successful REACH event on 'Dementia: Personal experiences and cultural representations'


This REACH event, put on by Sharon Nelis, Catherine Quinn and Ruth Lamont, was part of the Economic and Social Research Council's Festival of Social Science (FOSS). This free FOSS event aimed to introduce the audience to some of the work done within the social sciences, like the IDEAL study which seeks to improve the day-to-day experiences of those living with dementia. Beyond this, the event aimed to get people thinking about how we view and discuss dementia, and how this might affect those living with it. The event was held at Exeter Phoenix's Studio 74 on the 7th November and included a number of introductory talks. Keith Oliver - author of Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk - opened by sharing his thoughts on living with Alzheimer's disease, being an advocate for those with dementia and taking part in research. Researcher Dr Alex Hillman then shared her thoughts on how dementia is portrayed within our culture, through film, TV, newspapers etc. Steve Milton from Innovations in Dementia - a charity working passionately to support human rights for people with dementia - then showed a clip relating to their campaign 'Dementia words matter' and opened the discussion around current representations of dementia, their helpfulness and potential for change. Thank you to everyone that spoke and attended to make the event such a success. 

FOSS 2017 photo


IDEAL linked project 'A Life More Ordinary' in the press


As the first 'A Life More Ordinary' chapbook is launched, both BBC Spotlight and ITV West Country News have run stories on the project. 

 ALMO ITV Screenshot


Booklet launched to share experiences of living with dementia


The 'A Life More Ordinary' project, linked to IDEAL has released the first of its 'chapbooks' on living with Dementia. This short booklet co-created by people with dementia, those supporting them and three artists Ian Beesley, Ian McMillan and Tony Husband) shares information through photography, poetry, cartoons and quotes. You can view the first booklet for free online:

 A pdf of the chapbook can be downloaded from here (PDF, 2MB)

#ESRCfestival event 'Dementia: Personal Experiences and Cultural Representations'


Booking has now opened for the above event. Join us for what promises to be a dynamic, informative and thought-provoking Festival of Social Sciences event on the topic of dementia. 

To read more about the event or to book to join, please go to the Exeter Phoenix webpages

Tuesday, 7th Nov 2017 | 5-7pm | Free (but booking necessary)

Venue: Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, EX4 3LS, Exeter


REACH member awarded prize for best clinical paper at international conference


Congratulations to Dr Sharon Savage who has been selected for the Elsevier Young Investigator Award at the XXIII World Congress of Neurology (WCN 2017), taking place in Kyoto, Japan, September 16 -21, 2017. Sharon’s abstract entitled "Long-term prognosis of transient epileptic amnesia: evidence from the TIME project" was selected as the Best Clinical Paper. Sharon presented her work on Thursday 21st September.


REACH lead at the International Federation on Ageing's Global Think Tank on Ageing


REACH's Professor Linda Clare participated in the IFA Global Think Tank on Ageing held in Copenhagen at the HQ of DaneAge. The meeting focused on cognitive reserve and its implications for policy and practice. Linda (seated far left) with the other participating experts of the Think Tank.


REACH at the British Neuropsychiatry Association annual meeting 


Sharon Savage BNPA photo

REACH's Dr Sharon Savage was awarded best poster at last week's British Neuropsychiatry Association (BNPA) annual meeting in London. The BNPA is a leading academic and professional body for medical practitioners and allied health professionals in the UK working at the interface of the clinical and cognitive neurosciences and psychiatry. Their objective is to advance health for the public benefit by bringing about improved health care for people with neuropsychiatric disorders in particular by increasing, integrating, and disseminating knowledge and understanding of the relationships between brain function and human behaviour through open learned meetings. Sharon’s poster was titled “Long-term follow-up in Transient Epileptic Amnesia: Prognosis over 10-20 years”. The study has been able to provide evidence that people with a rare type of temporal lobe epilepsy, known as Transient Epileptic Amnesia, do not appear to have increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. View the poster here.


 New British Psychological Society Dementia Advisory Group Report


Report: Psychological dimensions of dementia

REACH's Professor Linda Clare is the British Psychological Society's Dementia Advisory Group Chair. A recent report by the group 'Psychological Dimensions of Dementia: Putting the Person at the Centre of Care' (pictured) has been discussed in recent online articles and can be accessed through the BPS website.


Dementia and Living Alone


The most recent NIHR CLAHRC e-newsletter focuses on Ageing and Dementia. Within this, the work of REACH's Dr Janet Heaton and Professsor Linda Clare is highlighted (excerpt below):

A growing number of people with dementia live alone in the community, supported by a non-resident relative or friend, yet little is known about their experiences and how they manage over time.

A PenCLAHRC project led by Dr Janet Heaton, and being carried out with Professor Linda Clare and the MIDAS (Memory Impairment and Dementia Awareness) study team, is addressing this deficit in understanding by examining relevant qualitative data from the MIDAS study.

Focussing on a sub-set of interviews that were carried out with people with early stage dementia who lived alone and their non-resident carers at two time points, the research is examining the difficulties they have experienced since the onset of the condition, the strategies they use to separately and jointly manage the effects of dementia, and their respective outlooks.

The project links to ongoing work on living well with dementia in the Exeter-based IDEAL study and provides the perspective of one group that is 'seldom heard' in research.

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk


Keith Oliver’s latest book—‘Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk’—compiles his reflections on different stages and aspects of his life, from his early teaching career in the UK, to moving his family to Australia, and from the intricacies of living well to engaging in national discussions around dementia. His own reflections are combined with the thoughts and accounts of a wide range of his ‘professional friends’, friends, and loved ones to form an engaging narrative of Keith’s life and loves to date.

Keith has a diagnosis of young on-set Alzheimer’s and his drive to shape research and policy in the area and improve experiences for those living with a dementia comes out strongly in the book. Keith’s friend and colleague (as a KMPT Dementia Service User Envoy), Chris Norris, remarks that “Without doubt, the time has come for action to improve the lives of those affected with dementia. Organisations and the NHS now need to not just talk the talk but take action and walk the walk. Keith does and through his leadership and inspiration, many others now do.”

Keith Oliver bookAs put by Rachael Litherland who has worked with Keith in her capacity as a co-director of Innovations in Dementia, “dementia is only one side of his [Keith’s] life – and he is a great example to me, and to other people with dementia, about the need to put energies into other parts of one’s life – walking on the beach, helping school children with their reading, going to the theatre or cinema, writing (and inspiring others to do so).”

‌To read more, you can get your hands on the book through the following routes:

• Soon to appear on the Alzheimer's Society online shop (all proceeds to the Alzheimer's Society)- £5 (plus p and p)
Waterstones shops- £8 (£5 of which to the Alzheimer's Society)
• From the author at meetings and conferences- £5 (all money to Alzheimer's Society and Innovations in Dementia)

'Dementia: Life, Art & Research' Event


The 'Dementia: Life, Art, and Research' event held on the 8th November 2016 (at Exeter Phoenix) focused on engaging members of the public with the topic of dementia in terms of lived experience, art, and world-leading research.

A short film by Lavinia Greenlaw 'The Sea is an Edge and an Ending', and another by Innovations in Dementia 'The Walking Group', gave varied perspectives on the experiences of people with dementia and their loved ones.

Award-winning cartoonist Tony Husband then talked to the audience about his recent illustrated story (“Take Care, Son”) which chronicles his father’s dementia with “loving charm and wit” (Stephen Fry).

The films and this personal account were the starting point for further discussion about dementia care with our expert panel, including Professor Linda Clare (Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia, University of Exeter), Professor Clive Ballard (Exeter Medical School Pro-Vice-Chancellor) and Rachael Litherland (Innovations in Dementia).

Some feedback from people who attended:

Feedback 'Dementia: Life, Art, and Research'

REACH attended the UK Dementia Congress 2016


Thank you to everyone who came and supported the IDEAL workshop at the UK Dementia Congress in Brighton.

Workshop title: What does living with dementia mean? Learning from people with dementia and carers through the IDEAL study.


REACH support 'books on prescription' for people with dementia


Dr Ruth Lamont, REACH Associate Research Fellow was successful in obtaining funding to promote public engagement with the research and events run by the REACH team. The funding was obtained through the University of Exeter’s Postgraduate and Early Career Engagement Award and has be used to develop REACH resources to share at events, to create a list of volunteers wanting to hear about opportunities to engage with research, and has supported REACH involvement with a number of events.

Most recently, a portion of this funding was used to support Exeter library in their aims to promote reading for health through the ‘Reading Well- Books on Prescription’ range. A number of ‘Pictures to Share’ books were gifted to the library by REACH to be included on their stand for people diagnosed with dementia and their carers. These books which predominantly feature pictures and are on a number of themes such as family life, the great outdoors, sports etc. can enable people in the mid to late stages of dementia who struggle with reading to continue an interest in books and can promote communication in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

Since January 2015 the books on prescription for people with dementia and their carers displayed across libraries in Devon have seen over 2200 loans. We hope that the gifting of these Pictures to Share books will further support this need and look forward to our continued collaboration with libraries across Devon. See photo and link to tweet.


IDEAL study meets recruitment target


We are pleased to report that recruitment is now complete for the 5-year longitudinal IDEAL project. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to over 1500+ individuals and their friends and family who have taken part so far. Thanks to the researchers at our various sites who have made this happen. Findings from the first time point will be released in early 2017.


REACH researcher appearance on Panorama dementia documentary


A BBC Panorama documentary was filmed over 18 months and followed Chris Roberts and his family as they try to live well with dementia. Dr Anthony Martyr was filmed as part of Chris' involvement with the IDEAL project. The full programme is available here to UK viewers for the next 12 months. A BBC webpage with clips of the show is available here.


Professor Clare discusses Dementia Awareness Week with the BPS


REACH lead Professor Linda Clare discusses the research that we do for Dementia Awareness week. Read the interview here.

GREAT Trial on Horizon


GREAT trial was featured on BBC Two's Horizon on Wednesday, 11th May, 8pm. The episode included an interview with the study lead Professor Linda Clare, therapy sessions with the therapist Sue Evans and a study participant from the North Wales site. We are excited that more people were able to hear about the potential benefits of cognitive rehabilitation for people living with dementia. You can read about the episode on the BBC Horizon website and the University press release.


Collaborators' new website


The newly-founded Centre of Research Excellence in Promoting Cognitive Health (CRECH) led by Professor Kaarin Anstey at the Australian National University, Canberra have launched a website. We are coinvestigators in this major 5-year initiative funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. CRECH will be officially launched on 15th June.


Twitter update


Two major REACH projects now have Twitter accounts to update participants and researchers about our activities and news. The IDEAL study Twitter page is here, the GREAT trial Twitter is here. We look forward to connecting with you.

Many of our researchers have Twitter accounts too, they can be found on our Who we are pages.


End of recruitment in GREAT Trial


The GREAT Trial, our major REACH project, has met the recruitment target with 475 people having completed all the baseline assessment measures and were randomised to one of the study groups.

CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to everyone involved in helping to identify and recruit participants to the trial over the past three years! Findings of the Trial are expected in 2017 just in time for the new NICE guidelines on dementia.


CORD-PD Trial protocol published


Our cognitive rehabilitation in Parkinson's disease and Dementia of Lewy Body trial (CORD-PD) being led by researchers at Bangor University has just published the trial protocol. Click here to view the open access publication.

Our IDEAL project and GREAT trial protocols are also open access and are available here and here, respectively.


Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer writes on suicide


Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer has authored a chapter on ageing and suicide in the new edition of Suicide: An Unnecessary Death. Recently published, this chapter provides a comprehensive overview of rates of suicide in older populations around the world, risk factors, and strategies for prevention. The book can be purchased directly from Oxford University Press or from Amazon and other good booksellers.



Australian Ageing Agenda has recently published an op-ed by Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer on the need for better support for family carers. Read the full article here.


REACH welcomes three new members of staff


In November Dr Yu-Tzu Wu joined us as a Research Fellow from the University of Cambridge. She provides her epidemiological experience to the IDEAL project.

In January Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer joined us as a Senior Lecturer in Ageing and Family Care. Moving from Griffith University, Australia she continues her work in wellbeing of older adults and family carers.

In February Dr Julia Teale joined us as a Research Fellow from Abertay University, Dundee.




REACH Team Member Interviewed on BBC Radio Wiltshire

Ruth Lamont, Associate Research Fellow in the REACH team, was interviewed by Jonathan Morrell on BBC Radio Wiltshire this morning as part of a discussion about what makes someone 'old'. 

Ruth was invited to the show as co-author on the Government Office for Science Foresight report 'The Barriers to and Enablers of Positive Attitudes to Ageing and Older People, at the Societal and Individual Level', led by Professor Dominic Abrams and Dr Hannah Swift at the University of Kent. She discussed European Social Survey data demonstrating how perceptions of old age are subjective, varying between the UK and other European countries. The likely impact of increased longevity on our views of old age was also discussed.




The recently completed research project ‘Bilingualism as a protective factor in age-related neurodegenerative conditions’ (BANC) has released a summary of the findings: available here.

Mae’r prosiect ymchwil ‘Dwyieithrwydd fel ffactor amddiffynnol mewn anhwylderau niwroddirywiol cysylltiedig ag oedran’ (BANC) wedi cyhoeddi crynodeb o'r canfyddiadau: ar gael yma.



Recruitment for the IDEAL study has commenced with the following sites now active:

  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE), Bath
  • Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hywel Dda University Health Board

Look out for information on IDEAL at clinics and centres in these areas.

The IDEAL study website is now live.



IDEAL study will establish how to support living well with dementia (.docx)

REACH co-investigators in the study are: Professor Linda Clare, Dr John Hindle, Dr Anthony Martyr, Dr Sharon Nelis, Dr Jeannette Thom and Dr Catherine Quinn. The project will be supported by NWORTH - the Bangor Trials Unit.