Exploring themes in the narratives of couples in which one partner has dementia to identify what short couple interventions should focus on
01 November 2019
05T12:24:25Z December 2022
Objective: Despite strong evidence showing the association between relationship quality and outcomes for both partners in couples with dementia, studies show little or no statistical evidence of the effectiveness of short-term couple interventions in dementia. The aim of this study was to address the question of what topics a short couple intervention should focus on, and what content and components such an intervention should include. Method: In this cross-sectional, qualitative investigation we used thematic analysis of transcribed interviews from couples (N=4), after they participated in the short-term couple intervention for dementia. Using thematic analysis, we extracted codes and identified the themes appearing in the narratives of couples obtained in in-depth interviews. Results: The main four themes which emerged were Loss, Change, Relationships, and Coping with difficulties, which included several sub-themes. Conclusion: This study indicates that high relationship quality and effective dyadic coping should be seen as a “relationship reserve” (a concept alike to cognitive reserve), that may act as a resilience factor in dementia. Well-designed, structured, multi-component couple interventions can enhance couples’ relationship reserve and, what follows, help to prevent carer burden, depression and burn-out, slower cognitive decline in the partner with dementia and improve the psychological well-being of both partners. To be more effective, such interventions should include both an educational and a therapeutic modules (with the latter consisting of a relational component, a component focused on self-care of caregiving partner, and a component addressing depression in both partners), and should be tailored for the needs of individual couples and adjusted depending on stages of dementia.
Type of Material
Status of Item
Not peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License