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Neighbourly kindness like taking bins out boosts wellbeing of people with dementia

Article By: Sue Learner

Acts of kindness by neighbours such as taking the bins out each week, have a ‘huge effect’ on the wellbeing of people with dementia, according to new research.

A study by Manchester University has found that being connected with their local community has enormous benefits for people with dementia - with familiarity with people in local shops, cafes and even on the street, being crucial.

Research associate Sarah Campbell said: “Many people with dementia will be living independently in neighbourhoods and communities, with the support of family, friends, neighbours and formal and informal service providers.

“But understanding the nature of support available in neighbourhood settings is crucial to ensuring everyone affected by dementia is able to live life as best they can.”

She added: "‘Routines and habit’ are also an essential part of everyday life in connecting people to their neighbourhoods and to others. Such as using the same routes to walk the dog, or visiting the same café or attending dementia peer support groups."

The research is part of a five year study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research and is one of the first and largest studies to investigate how people living with dementia, and their partners, experience their local neighbourhoods.

The research team hopes their findings will encourage others to think about people living with dementia currently thought to be around 850,000 people in Britain, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“We’d like the public to also think about how they might be able to help people living with dementia in their own neighbourhoods and reflect on what it might be like to live in their own neighbourhoods with a diagnosis of dementia,” said Ms Campbell.

More information on the study can be found at


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