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Eur J Ageing. 2012 Nov 7;10(2):75-87. doi: 10.1007/s10433-012-0253-5. eCollection 2013 Jun.

Conceptualisation of self-management intervention for people with early stage dementia.

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Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions Whitefriars Building, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 5FB UK.
Mental Health Services Older People Division, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Juniper Centre, Moseley Hall Hospital, Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8AQ UK.


Dementia is a major challenge for health and social care services. People living with dementia in the earlier stages experience a "care-gap". Although they may address this gap in care, self-management interventions have not been provided to people with dementia. It is unclear how to conceptualise self-management for this group and few published papers address intervention design. Initial focusing work used a logic mapping approach, interviews with key stakeholders, including people with dementia and their family members. An initial set of self-management targets were identified for potential intervention. Self-management for people living with dementia was conceptualised as covering five targets: (1) relationship with family, (2) maintaining an active lifestyle, (3) psychological wellbeing, (4) techniques to cope with memory changes, and (5) information about dementia. These targets were used to focus literature reviewing to explore an evidence base for the conceptualisation. We discuss the utility of the Corbin and Strauss (Unending work and care: managing chronic illness at home. Jossey-Bass, Oxford, 1988) model of self-management, specifically that self-management for people living with dementia should be conceptualised as emphasising the importance of "everyday life work" (targets 1 and 2) and "biographical work" (target 3), with inclusion of but less emphasis on specific "illness work" (targets 4, 5). We argue that self-management is possible for people with dementia, with a strengths focus and emphasis on quality of life, which can be achieved despite cognitive impairments. Further development and testing of such interventions is required to provide much needed support for people in early stages of dementia.


Dementia; Intervention development; Patient education; Self-management

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