The Deaf Dementia Research project began in February and is intended to run until March 2022 with funding from the Life Changes Trust (LCT). Rosemary Oram (Rosie for short) is the Research Officer and will be working two days a week on this project, for BDA Scotland.

The project focuses on older Deaf people (BSL-users) living with dementia and will explore with this research question;

  1. What social care services provision is available and what they are like in Scotland for them and their families.
  2. What are the expectations of older Deaf people who use BSL (and their families) when they are transitioning into dementia-specific residential care?
  3. What is required for care homes in Scotland to be in a position to provide effective care for older Deaf people (with dementia) who use BSL as their first language, and how might that be achieved?

During the project, we are expecting to interview four different groups of people.

The first group will be key members of staff from residential care homes across Scotland who have now or previously had experience of caring for Deaf individuals with dementia and what services/facilities are available for them.  Six residential homes will be selected and interviews will take place with both the manager and the Deaf person’s keyworker (the person responsible for working closely with that resident), resulting in 12 interviews altogether.

The second group will be key members of residential care staff who have never had experience of caring for Deaf residents (BSL-users).  Again, six care homes will be selected and the interviewees will be asked to imagine what they would need to consider if they were asked to care for a Deaf person with dementia referred to their service.

The third group will consist of Deaf individuals who are BSL users have themselves provided care for a Deaf individual who has dementia.  There will be two focus groups, with up to six people in each, who will be asked to discuss and share their experiences and views on the services for Deaf people with dementia, or if they have identified gaps where further provision could be developed in the future. Each group might include people who have worked in residential care, who have visited people in their own homes or who have cared for family members e.g. a partner, or parent, who is Deaf and has dementia.

The fourth group will be members of the Deaf, BSL-using community who will be invited to discuss topics including their current knowledge of dementia; what information or resources they are aware of relating to dementia which are suitable for Deaf people; and what service provision they would want or hope to see should they or someone they know who is Deaf, be diagnosed with dementia in the future. Two focus groups, with up to six people in each, will be run.

We will be providing more updates as the project progresses so watch this space.

If you would like more information on the Deaf Dementia Research project, please contact Rosie at:

Skype: Rosemary Oram (BDA Scotland)