Carers’ experiences of dementia support groups: A qualitative exploration

West, Melanie and Hogan, Kevin Francis (2019) Carers’ experiences of dementia support groups: A qualitative exploration. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 20 (1). pp. 136-142. ISSN 1473-3145

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Dementia rates are growing (WHO, 2017) and as dementia is associated with a loss of independence, carers are required. Caring for a dementia patient places great demands on the carer’s resources (WHO, 2017). Previous research has indicated that whilst carers are at increased risk of poor mental and physical health (Diener & Chan, 2011; Mahoney et al., 2005; Mausbach et al., 2007) there are some effective protective measures against these increased risks (Cooper et al., 2012; Elvish et al., 2013; Kaufman et al., 2010). Aims: This study aimed to evaluate a dementia support group, in relation to protective measures including social and emotional support, in a real-life rural setting from a carers’ perspective. Method: Fourteen informal carers of dementia patients were interviewed about their experiences of attending dementia support groups. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and subject to thematic analysis. Findings: The analysis showed that attendance to the support group was associated with subjective well-being, and that social support provided by the group was both stimulating and supportive for the carers. Participants valued the opportunity to share their experiences of being a carer with fellow group members and finding out about resources. Frequently, participants reported that that the time period surrounding their loved one receiving a diagnosis of dementia was traumatic and they needed time to adjust to their new circumstances before attending a support group. Conclusions: Implications for wider employment of support groups as a format of support for carers are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: West, M., & Hogan, K.F. Carers’ experiences of dementia support groups: A qualitative exploration. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 2020; 1:136-142, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Divisions: Faculty of of Arts, Society and Professional Studies > Department of Health and Behavioural Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Hazel Barham
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2019 10:18
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2020 05:10

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