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Helen Wells

Full time PhD student

Helen Wells

Research title: Facilitating decision-making about transitions between independent and supported living by women with dementia who live alone

Supervisors: Dr Andrea Capstick, Prof Udy Archibong

Hello my name is Helen Wells. I was born and brought up in Huddersfield. There was a lot of racism at that time and I became aware of other inequalities as I grew older. When I left school I was illiterate, and learnt to read using dictionary in my later life.

I refused to let my literacy be an obstacle to my learning and succeeding, the qualifications I have gained is my BTEC in Social Care, NVQ in Health and Social Care, Advanced Diploma in Counselling and Group work, BSc Hons degree Health and Community studies and my MSc degree in Health and Social Care in 2016. Whilst completing my BSc Hons, I won the Excel Student of Courage award. This award is given to students that have gone through difficult challenges in life, but have gone onto excel.

My interest in dementia stemmed from working in care homes and seeing how poor quality of care received impacted and affected the lives of people with dementia and their families.

I have worked with people with dementia and their families for more than 20 years in a variety of roles and setting. I worked with the Memory Clinic for 4 years alongside the consultants, Dementia Nurses, Admiral Nurses and Dementia Matron. I have also worked with different forms of diagnoses, ranging from Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies, Korsakoff syndrome, HIV-related cognitive impairment, and Fronto Temporal dementia.

I am also interest in tackling health and social care inequalities in the Afro Caribbean communities. The research study I carry out for my MSc was ‘Who said that Dementia does not discriminate: The knowledge and understanding the Afro Caribbean community have about Dementia and available services.’

Using Narrative study and biographical interviewing, the research will focus upon the experience of women. The research study seeks to develop an in-depth, rich explanation, in facilitating decision-making about transitions between independent and supported living for women with dementia who live alone. The results of this study will be used to inform the development of interventions and approaches to improve transition for women who live alone with dementia.

The School of Dementia Studies is one of the UK’s leading centres for research and has over 20 years experience of high quality research and is recognised internationally in the field of dementia research. The research carried at the School of Dementia Studies seeks to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia, their families and communities by influencing policies and procedures.
The chance for me to work within the Dementia Doctoral Training Centre, and learn from, other students and academics across disciplines is a privilege. Therefore I feel very privileged to have received the Alzheimer’s Society PhD studentship.