Phillip Friemann, MSc
Competition Sponsor: UK Research and Innovation
In the UK there are over 7 million unpaid carers who provide vital support to relatives, partners or friends who require help with daily living. Unfortunately, many of them feel lonely, unsupported and are lacking information on how to best manage their role in the long term. The most common support available are peer support groups. These are attended by some carers, but others struggle to leave their homes or do not feel comfortable opening up face to face with strangers. What might more accessible support for those carers look like?
I propose to develop an online platform that will allow unpaid carers of older adults to join a chat group with peers and a support worker where they will receive guidance and emotional support. They will also have access to information to support them in their role and exercises to help them manage their wellbeing. The chat-based format will not be attractive for everybody, but for some people this medium really works. It is also attractive for providers as it could allow them to reach greater numbers of carers at reasonable cost. Of course, such a platform needs to be designed carefully to ensure that carers feel comfortable chatting and receive the information and support they would like. I will develop the solution in close collaboration with carers while also drawing on the latest insights from social psychology and wellbeing research.