Mealtimes and being connected in the community-based dementia context


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Abstract

Mealtimes provide an opportunity for social activity and emotional connection. This grounded theory study focused on the meaning and experience of mealtimes in families living with dementia in the community; 28 partners in care and 27 persons with dementia were interviewed together and separately. Team analysis resulted in the development of a substantive theory which explains how eating together ‘mirrors the way we are’ and reveals the essence of what it is to be human while living with dementia. Mealtimes reflect how these families were being connected, honouring identity and adapting to an evolving life. This article focuses on three ways in which Being Connected occurs at mealtimes: being face to face, participating psychologically, and getting and giving support. Understanding the role that mealtimes play in promoting improved connections and thus relationships within the dementia context has important implications for both formal and family care partners.

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