The lived experience of spirituality and dementia in older people living with mild to moderate dementia


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Abstract

A literature review highlighted the importance of understanding the subjective experience of spirituality and dementia. Two research aims were identified: to build an understanding of how older people's experience of spirituality, religion or faith is affected by having dementia and to understand how the spiritual aspects of their lives affect the experience of dementia. Six older people with mild to moderate dementia were interviewed about their experience of spirituality and dementia. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Five superordinate themes were identified: experience of faith; searching for meaning in dementia; ‘I'm not as I was’ - changes and losses in experience of the self; staying intact; and current pathways to spiritual connection and expression. The results offered a unique perspective on the experience of spirituality and dementia, uniting themes from both research and theory concerning the experience of the self and the experience of spirituality in dementia.

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