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REACH: The Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health

Current projects

Our aim is to improve the lives of older people and people with dementia through research. We work closely with people with dementia and carers to understand the experience of living with dementia and the needs of family members and others providing unpaid care for people with dementia. We also work closely with care homes and their staff to investigate how we can ensure the best possible care for people with dementia living in care homes.

Our work focuses on identifying what can help to maintain or improve well-being and quality of life and enable people to live active and fulfilling lives. Our work also helps equip and train care workers to provide excellent care.

We focus on developing and testing new interventions to enable people with dementia to function at the best possible level and experience the best possible level of well-being.

We develop and test interventions to support carers and equip them with the skills they need to provide care for the person with dementia.

We also investigate how we can ensure the best possible well-being and quality of life for people with dementia living in care homes.

IDEAL - Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life

Visit the IDEAL project website

Emma Walter, Projects Administrator

GREAT into Practice: an implementation project (GREAT iP)

Maintaining independence in people with Alzheimer's and related dementias through implementation of GREAT Cognitive Rehabilitation into Practice

GREAT iP is a 3-year long implementation (service improvement) project through which we aim to have GREAT Cognitive Rehabilitation effectively implemented in at least 15 organisations, and a tried and tested strategy available for wider implementation throughout the UK and beyond. It is funded by Alzheimer's Society. It builds on the findings from GREAT trial.

Visit GREAT iP website to find out more.

ENLIVEN - ENLIVEN - Extending active life for older people with cognitive impairment through innovation in the visitor economy of the natural environment

Older people living with cognitive impairments and their families say that nature helps them in lots of ways. It makes them feel more engaged, more enthusiastic, more hopeful, more resilient and better able to deal cope with challenges. The places where people go to enjoy nature are usually managed by businesses, local councils, social enterprises and charities. Working with colleagues in the Business School, this multi-disciplinary study focusses on what can be done to make outdoor places easier for older people living with cognitive impairment and their family members of all ages to visit.

Hannah Cameron, Projects Administrator

RecoverED - Development and testing of an intervention to improve Recovery after an Episode of Delirium

This study aims to investigate delirium in older people with or without dementia. The study will develop an intervention to improve the recovery from delirium. Once an intervention has been developed, we will see if this improves care compared to a group of people who are not taking part in the intervention. If the intervention is effective we will be conducting a larger study with around 500 people to make sure that the intervention is effective.

Visit the RecoverED project website

This study aims to help people with dementia, who have had a fall in the past 6 months, to maintain their independence. After having a fall, people with dementia may have a fear of falling again which could lead to an increase in their dependency and a poorer quality of life. We have developed a package of activities (intervention) to help people with dementia maintain their independence at home. A close family member or friend will take part with the person with dementia to support them during the study.

This study is sponsored by the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and managed by the University of Exeter.

This study is funded by Alzheimer’s Society with the views expressed being those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Alzheimer’s Society.

Visit the Maintain Study website.


Self-management and HeAlth Promotion in Early-stage dementia with e-learning for carers
Self-management and health promotion in early-stage dementia with e-learning for carers: a randomised controlled trial. Funded by Joint Programming in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Led by Professor Ingelin Testad, SESAM Stavanger and University of Exeter.

Find out more at the project website.

WHELD (Improving Wellbeing and Health for People with Dementia) into Practice

Implementation of evidence-based cost-effective training for care home staff to improve wellbeing and mental health for care home residents with dementia and reduce unnecessary sedative medications: WHELD into practice. Funded by NIHR Applied Research Collaboration National Priority Area in Healthy Ageing, Dementia and Frailty. Led by Professor Clive Ballard, University of Exeter. 

Find out more at the project website.

Better Driving

Driving better and longer: evidence-based interventions for older drivers. Funded by
Australian National Health & Medical Research Council. Led by Professor Kaarin Anstey, University of New South Wales. 

Find out more at the project website.

Assistive technology and home modifications

Assistive technology and home modifications: outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers, service use patterns and costs. Funded by NIHR School for Social Care Research. Let by Dr Catherine Henderson, London School of Economics and Political Science.

You can find out more about the project here.

Find out more about our completed projects