Volunteers required for research into how a ‘smart plug’ could support people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s

A unique research study looking into independent living and support for people with mild dementia is looking to find volunteers in South Yorkshire to be part of the study.

A partnership between Westfield Health, Sheffield Hallam University and the Alzheimer’s Society is calling for people who have been recently diagnosed with dementia and are living independently to take part in the six-month long project.

Covering the entire Sheffield region, the research will be focused on understanding whether a simple piece of technology, a 3rings plug, could support people with early stage dementia to live independently and also provide further assurance for families caring for loved ones.

The 3rings smart plug connects household appliances, like a kettle, with a messaging service to provide updates that the user is ok or an alert to the family if their normal routine changes.

Jill Davies, Chief Executive at Westfield Health, said: “Living with a dementia related illness is challenging, whether you are the patient or a family carer. That is why we are proud to be part of this research to test whether a simple device could help support and provide further assurance.

“We are inviting people who have recently been diagnosed with a dementia related illness and are currently living independently to take part in this research which is being carried out by Sheffield Hallam University. The response data will be anonymised, and the programme governed by Sheffield Hallam University research ethics.”

Liz Howarth, Programme Director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Perfect Patient Pathway NHS Testbed, added: “As one of seven NHS Testbeds we are very interested in seeing how technology like the 3rings plug could support people with long term conditions to live independently for as long as possible. We would encourage people to get involved if they wish to as the findings of the research will be invaluable in informing new developments in care to support people living with dementia.”

There are currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and this is set to rise to one million by 2021.

There is currently no cure for dementia. The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one.

If you would like to be involved in the 3rings research please contact the programme team on 0114 250 2358 or email, including your contact telephone number, pdavidson@WestfieldHealth.com for further details.