University of Iowa researchers looking for participants in dementia caregivers study

IOWA CITY — Researchers at the University of Iowa are looking for Iowans who are serving as caretakers of a family member or friend who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

The U-I College of Nursing is in year three of a four year study designed to support those caregivers. The study’s director, Diane Blyler, says participants need to commit just three months to the study.

“What we hope is that, by providing weekly feedback to people, we can identify challenging situations that we can help people with in their home – whether it’s challenges with eating or other day-to-day care,” Blyler says. A total of 35 families have participated in the study so far and Blyler is hoping they can collect data from at last 25 more. Participants in the study fill out questionnaires and also use an iPAD, provided by the U-I, to record and share videos with a team of dementia care experts.

“And what we do is we try to come up with solutions or suggestions based on literature, as well as people’s expert clinical advice, on how to handle day-to-day challenges in the home,” Blyler says. “Maybe there’s a challenge with eating or maybe, in the video, we’ll see something like a rug on the floor that’s not secure and we’ll say ‘that might be a tripping hazard, you might want to move that or pick it up.’”

Each caregiver enrolled in the study will be paid $225. Iowans who are caring for a dementia patient in their home and want to participate in the study can contact Blyler by email ( diane-blyler@uiowa.edu ) or by calling 319-335-3488.

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