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“How can you think about losing your mind?”: A reflexive thematic analysis of adapting the LivDem group intervention for couples and families living with dementia

Woodstoke, Natasha; Winter, Beth; Dodd, Emily; Cheston, Richard


Beth Winter


Despite the psychological challenges that dementia creates, comparatively little attention has been paid to how individuals or families can be helped to adjust to dementia. One of the few interventions to do this is the Living well with Dementia (LivDem) post-diagnostic course. LivDem focuses on supporting individuals to talk more openly about their dementia. However, while family supporters attend preliminary and follow up sessions, their role is limited and finding a way for them to be more actively involved might enhance the impact of the intervention and make it more flexible. We therefore set out to explore how the current LivDem intervention could be adapted for couples and families.
We completed eleven semi-structured interviews and focus groups with four groups of stakeholders: people living with dementia and their families; LivDem facilitators; researchers in this area; and psychotherapists with experience of working with couples or families living with dementia. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.
Four main themes were generated: “Hear the impact on everybody”; People who are “ready to do that”; “It’s such a fine line”; and “You deal with it in your family”. Participants emphasised that the intervention needs to be delivered by willing and skilled facilitators to people who are ready to talk in their family context; and this intervention, in whatever format, needs to be embedded within connected services.
Stakeholders felt that it would be possible to adapt the LivDem model for couples and families so long as a number of conditions were met. An adapted family or couple version of LivDem has the potential to facilitate improved adaptation to dementia, and to be incorporated into dementia pathways and delivered with the NHS and the voluntary sector. Further research is needed to establish the feasibility of such an intervention.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 24, 2024
Journal Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research And Practice
Print ISSN 1471-3012
Electronic ISSN 1741-2684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Alzheimer Disease; Psychosocial Intervention; Psychological Adjustment; Emotional Adjustment; Psychotherapy; Psychology
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