Psychological support for people with dementia : a preliminary study

Birtwell, K ORCID: and Dubrow-Marshall, LJ ORCID: 2018, 'Psychological support for people with dementia : a preliminary study' , Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 18 (1) , pp. 79-88.

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Aim/Purpose: Evidence suggests nonpharmacological therapies could improve quality of life in people with Alzheimer’s disease (Olazaran et al.,2010). This study aimed to explore attitudes to, and acceptability of,psychological support for people with mild dementia, from their perspective.
Design/Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five people identified from secondary care services. Questions concerned the experience of being diagnosed, experience of support services and their opinion of alternative support options. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.
Results/Findings: Three main themes were identified: loss, coping mechanisms and support. Loss of physical abilities was associated with loss of identity and place in the community. Coping mechanisms included asserting control, and growth and development, including engaging in new activities or using humour. Individual needs and preferences were key to effective support. Social aspects of support and opportunities to talk about their feelings were valued by participants. Counselling, mindfulness and group-based activities, including walking and gardening, were viewed positively. Support from admiral nurses or specialist nurses tended to be viewed in terms of physical health needs, and most needed in later stages of dementia.
Research Limitations: Limitations include the small sample size, potential inaccuracies acknowledged by participants regarding recollections of events and researcher bias in hoping that psychological support would be well received.
Conclusions/Implications: Talking therapies and psychosocial interventions are acceptable sources of support. Person-centred support which considers personal preferences and abilities can support people to live well with dementia.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1473-3145
Related URLs:
Funders: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Depositing User: Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2018 14:21
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 22:53

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