The Deaf Dementia Research Project, funded by the Life Changes Trust (LCT), ran from February 2021 until March 2022. Carolyn Denmark was the Research Officer for this project.

The research involved collecting and analysing data from twelve Scottish care homes. Focus group discussions and interviews with Care Managers and Keyworkers were conducted, to explore current practices when caring for Deaf people with dementia. At the end of the project, a comprehensive Research Project report was published, documenting finding and recommendations.

Study One engaged six care homes who, at the time of contact, either had Deaf residents with dementia or had done so in the past. We explored the services they provided by interviewing a maximum of two staff members at each home: managers and/or keyworkers.

Study Two involved interviewing Care Managers from a further six care homes across Scotland who had not yet cared for any Deaf residents with dementia. We wanted to know what consideration they had given to the possibility of having a Deaf resident with dementia, what provision, if any, they had already put in place, and what they might consider important for the future.

We also facilitated two focus groups for up to six Deaf people each, to explore current experiences of Deaf carers of Deaf people with dementia in Scotland. The first focus group consisted of Deaf BSL users who provided care for a Deaf individual with dementia. Some worked in residential care settings, some were employed to make home visits, and others cared for a Deaf family member with dementia. The second focus group was made up of members of the Deaf community willing to participate in a more general discussion on care for Deaf people with dementia.

The two focus groups discussed a range of topics: What would your ideal care home look like? What would you expect from day-care provision, or from respite provision? Would you want to be with other Deaf people? What communication expectations do you have? What communication resources should be in place, and does that differ for day care, respite and long-term care? How should a care home adapt to the cultural needs of Deaf people? What knowledge and experience should care staff have?

Our research findings, Deaf People with Dementia and Care Homes in Scotland, are linked to below, both as an executive summary and as a full report with a BSL translation.

If you would like to know anything more about this project, please contact:

Executive Summary report:
Deaf people with dementia and care homes in Scotland (PDF)
Full report:
Deaf people with dementia and care homes in Scotland (PDF)
BSL video
Executive Summary report: Deaf people with dementia and care homes in Scotland