Local charity RICE, the Research Institute for the Care of Older People, has launched its latest appeal to fund a dementia research programme.
The Delivering Healthy Ageing – President’s Appeal will also help to support the growth of RICE’s clinical and research capability in new areas of age-related illnesses.
Research activity at RICE focuses on improving three areas of health for older people, thinking clearly, moving well and staying strong.
The charity’s aim is to fight for a cure for dementia and the appeal will help fund research into Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease and the decline of bone and muscle health which impacts greatly on the wellbeing of older people.
Based at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, RICE is an internationally recognised research institute, treatment centre and memory clinic dedicated to improving quality of life for older people through its research and support for people with dementia, their families and carers.
Dementia is a hidden disease with significant social costs carried primarily by unpaid family carers as well as health and social care services.
Research into dementia is underfunded in the UK. According to Dementia Research UK, 1 in 14 people over 65 have dementia yet only £90 per patient is spent on research.
As well as researching treatments for dementia, RICE hosts the NHS Memory Clinic for Bath and North East Somerset.
The RICE Memory Clinic receives referrals from local GPs, assesses patients’ memory and thinking skills and provides treatment and medication for dementia.
The RICE Centre also runs courses for carers and Cognitive Stimulation courses for patients.
To date, the Memory Clinic has cared for over 12,000 local people with memory problems and supported their families.
Lady Pratchett, Patron of RICE and Sir Terry Pratchett’s wife said: “I am proud to be the Patron of RICE. My family and I know from personal experience that the care and support provided by the charity is exceptional.
“The dedicated and experienced staff at RICE help families to deal with the life changing news of living with dementia as well as carrying out vital research.
“In the future, the high-quality services provided by RICE will be ever more important as the number of people impacted by dementia and other conditions of older age is rising.
“Increasing the clinical and research capacity of the Research Institute is vital so that even more people can benefit. Please support this appeal and help to improve life for us all as we age.”
Melissa Hillier, CEO at RICE added: “With the launch of this appeal we are celebrating a new vision for the future of RICE as we seek to deliver an expanded research programme aimed at helping older people to Think Clearly, Move Well and Stay Strong.
“We are thrilled that Professor Roy Jones will continue his support of RICE as our President as we build a lasting legacy of patient led care and research at the charity. Please get in touch if you’re interested in supporting the appeal.”
Dr Tomas Welsh, Research and Medical Director at RICE said: “We are greatly indebted to Professor Roy Jones for his lifelong commitment to RICE and it’s been an honour to work alongside him in recent years.
“Roy established one of the first memory clinic services in the UK, a service which has now been widely replicated in the UK and is best practice across the NHS.
“Today, dementia is on the increase with more than 1 million people expected to have the illness by 2030, so it is important that we learn more about the issues facing families so that treatments can meet their needs better.
“This appeal will enable us to grow our research programme and allow the charity to enhance its knowledge-base and help us improve care and support for those affected by dementia and other conditions of older age.”
Professor Roy Jones, President of RICE said: “I am delighted to be leading this Appeal in my new role as President and to hand over the reins of RICE to a talented team whom I know will take the Research Institute and Memory Clinic from strength to strength.
“It is my privilege to have led RICE since 1985 with the support of a dedicated and loyal team. I am particularly proud that we started one of the first UK Memory Clinics in Bath in 1987 and since then Memory Clinics have had a vital role in the revolution in dementia care.
“Earlier and enhanced recognition of dementia has been critical in developing support for those affected by the disease.
“RICE played an important part in identifying improvements in care for patients and their families as well as in the development of the first drug treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
“RICE has achieved recognition both nationally and internationally as a Centre of Excellence for research in dementia and for the care and treatment of our patients.
“This was confirmed by the ‘Outstanding’ rating we received from the Care Quality Commission in 2021.
“After the difficult years of the pandemic, the President’s Appeal will help to ensure that RICE can develop its vital research programme for the benefit of people everywhere.”
To learn more about the Delivering Healthy Ageing Appeal for RICE, visit www.rice.org.uk.