Health, well-being and resilience: Living as well as possible

Our work under this theme examines how we can maintain well-being and function as well as possible when faced with challenging circumstances, such as chronic and degenerative health conditions. Our work has been at the forefront of researching resilience in later life. Understanding and evaluating resilience, and how we can build resilience when faced with major health challenges is a central part of our research programme.


Our current resilience research saw us join forces with broadcaster and campaigner Beti George in March 2018 to host a workshop, exploring how we might build resilience for people living with dementia and their carers. Over forty people were present, including people living with dementia, carers, people from health and social care professionals, the third and private sector. The session was a lively and often frank conversation about the many challenges faced, but also the many strengths people possess.

“Being able to cope and adapt. What works one day will not work another day and what works at one time doesn’t work another time.” (Carer)

“I think it’s essential to have a sense of humour. When you are fighting, being able to realise that it’s actually not important and being able to laugh about it because you argue over the littlest and silliest things.” (Person living with dementia)

A cautionary note or two were articulated, especially a need to ensure that resilience does not become understood as an “expected norm”, resulting in people being left unsupported by services.  This work contributes new thinking to our portfolio of resilience research.


Research projects:

A randomised controlled trial and feasibility study of the effects of an e-health intervention ‘iSupport’ for reducing distress of dementia carers, especially in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  NIHR-PHR programme (£1.48m).  Start date 1st January 2021 for 36 months.  Team:  Gill Windle (lead investigator); Co-investigators: Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Zoe Hoare, Paul Brocklehurst, Kat Algar-Skaife, Patricia Masterson Algar, Gwenllian Hughes (Bangor); Joshua Stott and Aimee Spector (UCL); Kieren Eagan (University of Strathclyde).  Partners: Carers Trust Wales, Alzheimer’s Scotland, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; with input from the WHO.

Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR).  Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure award. (2.8m). 1st April 2020 for 5 years.  Gill Windle is the Bangor lead and Associate Director.

The impact of multicomponent support groups for those living with rare dementias. ESRC-NIHR Dementia Research Initiative, £4,431885.00. 1st January 2019 for 5 years. (Gill Windle co-investigator with Seb Crutch (lead), Rhiannon Tudor-Edwards, Zoe Hoare, Joshua Stott, Mary-Pat Sullivan, Paul Camic, Roberta MacKee Jackson).  For more information click here

Evaluation of Psychosocial Support of the transition to retirement (Evaluation of TILL Phase 2). Centre for Ageing Better, £92,402.67. 1st December 2017-31st May 2019. (GW Co-investigator).

Co-creating a resilience-building framework for people living with dementia and their carers. Health and Care Research Wales Social Care PhD studentship. £59,972.  1st January 2018. (Gill Windle lead applicant and supervisor; Sion Williams co-supervisor, Hannah Jelly student).

What is the impact of DementiaGo in residential homes for residents, relatives and staff? 1st September 2018. KESS Masters By Research, £15,000. (Gill Windle and Kat Algar-Skaife supervisors; Lia H Roberts student).

Maintaining Function and Well-Being: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Economic and Social Research Council Large Grant/HEFCfW, £3.2m July 2010-May 2016 (co-investigator).