Dementia and loneliness: an Australian perspective.

Abstract:

AIM:To explore the perceptions of loneliness according to people with early-stage dementia, living in community and long-term care and also the views of their family carers. BACKGROUND:Research that specifically explores the influence of loneliness on dementia is limited and indicates the prevalence of loneliness and the negative relationship between loneliness and cognitive decline. There is a paucity of research that explores loneliness from the perspective of the person with dementia. DESIGN:A descriptive exploratory qualitative approach was used. METHODS:Data were collected through semi-structured audio-taped interviews. A purposive sample of 70 people with a diagnosis or probable dementia and 73 family carers were recruited from community and long-term care from South East Queensland, Australia. RESULTS:Four themes were identified: staying connected to others; losing the ability to socially engage; experiencing loneliness; and overcoming loneliness. The results emphasise the importance of familiar human relationships in reducing the feelings of loneliness in people experiencing dementia. CONCLUSIONS:People with dementia are at risk of loneliness, but placing them with unfamiliar people and environments may not improve their situation. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:Better refinement of care that takes into account the potential for loneliness and an understanding of premorbid social tendency may assist in the implementation of individualised and evidence-based strategies to assist people with dementia to lead a better quality of life. To maintain well-being, the social needs of the person with dementia as well as the family need to be considered.

journal_name

J Clin Nurs

authors

Moyle W,Kellett U,Ballantyne A,Gracia N

doi

10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03549.x

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2011-05-01 00:00:00

pages

1445-53

issue

9-10

eissn

0962-1067

issn

1365-2702

journal_volume

20

pub_type

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