Nursing research often divides people up into either care recipients – for example, people with dementia – or caregivers – relatives and/or nursing staff. This type of research is important, but provides a compartmentalised view that makes it difficult to understand the dynamics in interpersonal relationships, especially if the person lives at home. Research on the topic does not stop at the front door of the house, but in this case includes the immediate environment in the form of the local neighbourhood. People living with dementia are not merely passive recipients of care and support, but rather are people that respond to and manage everyday life in various ways, and they do this alongside other people.
This topic is linked to an ongoing five-year research programme called Neighbourhoods and Dementia, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in the UK, and is led by Professor John Keady at the University of Manchester. There has so far been very little research into neighbourhoods and dementia, i.e., how the people who live with the condition define, use and perceive their local environment and social connection.