Couples constructing their experiences of dementia: A relational perspective

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Many people with dementia are cared for by their spouse or partner, therefore there is a need to understand the ways in which dementia and couple relationships impact upon each other. This study aimed to contribute to our understanding of the experience of dementia from a relational perspective. Seven couples, in which one person had a diagnosis of dementia, were interviewed about their experience of being in a couple where one partner had a diagnosis of dementia. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, five master themes were identified, which illustrated how couples constructed their experience of dementia in order to make sense of it, and describe the processes that they adopt in order to adjust to dementia. Findings were supported by existing empirical and theoretical literature and suggest that services and interventions could be enhanced if a relational understanding of dementia were more fully considered.

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