Ruby Swift has been with the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) for several years as a PhD student, but since completing her doctoral research in 2021 she has moved into a Research Associate role on the ‘Get Real with Meeting Centres’ project. Today’s blog takes a look at Ruby’s ADS journey and what she is working on now. Over to Ruby.
I joined ADS in 2016 as PhD student within the TAnDem Doctoral Training Centre: a collaboration between Worcester and Nottingham Universities, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society to research the Arts and Dementia. As well as conducting our own individual research projects, the TAnDem students worked together to research and promote awareness of arts and dementia through activities such as hosting an annual conference, giving conference workshops and presentations and working with the Alzheimer’s Society to produce short the videos Still here: The arts and dementia and Alzheimer’s Society Research: The creative arts and dementia.
My doctoral study explored shared musical activity within the caring relationships of people with dementia living at home. Since then, I have been involved in legacy work from the research conducted by the TAnDem PhDs, included hosting and reporting on the roundtable event The Arts and Dementia: Shaping the Future, held at The Hive Community Library in Worcester.
I am currently working as a Research Associate on the NIHR funded Get Real with Meeting Centres project which is concerned with understanding and promoting the sustainability of Meeting Centres. My role came about as a result of early findings highlighting that many people do not currently access the Meeting Centre service available to them. It is unclear who is not being reached and why, and it is my job to try and find out.
Since starting my new role in February 2022, I have been immersing myself in the various aspects of Meeting Centres by:
- visiting local Meeting Centres where I have enjoyed spending time with members and their families and taking part in activities
- speaking to people involved in running Meeting Centres, as well as healthcare professionals who make referrals, to get their perspectives on the barriers that prevent people from attending
- attending regular virtual Meeting Centre meetings and webinars
- taking part in Get Real data analysis
- working with demographic information from Meeting Centres, including the age, gender and ethnicity of members to try and find out who is being reached and who is not.
I will shortly be starting to hold interviews with people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire who have been told they could attend a Meeting Centre but have decided not to. These first-hand accounts will potentially help us to understand what can be done differently to reach and support more people to attend Meeting Centres in the future. If you are interested in being interviewed about this, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01905 542637.