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L. Johansson, A. Björklund, B. Sidenvall, L. Christensson

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2014;3(4):237-244

Background: As difficulties in performing daily activities occur among persons with dementia, their spouses are also affected. This is also true for mealtimes, yet there is a lack of knowledge and research into how couples manage this situation at home. Objective: The aim of the study was to explore and describe spouses’ experiences of mealtimes in couples in which one partner has dementia. Design, Setting and Participants: Ten spouses were interviewed in their home in respect to their experiences regarding mealtimes when living with a partner diagnosed with dementia. To identify themes across the data set, thematic analysis was conducted. Results: One major theme, Recognizing and managing the range of mealtime change, was identified and showed that depending on where the families were in the dementia process their experienced varied. As progression occurred in the partners disease, routines, responsibilities and relationships were affected within the couple. Strategies the participants used to manage mealtimes at home regarding these problems were highlighted such as getting support from social services, but also strategies they had learnt by themselves. Conclusion: These results generate an insight into what couples face, and their needs for support. Spouses experiences varied which indicates that it is important that support is based on individual needs. Hence, nursing staff should continuously pay attention to couples mealtime situation. Further it increases staff´s knowledge regarding possible solutions on how to involve persons with dementia in mealtime activities and maintain their nutritional intake.

L. Johansson ; A. Björklund ; B. Sidenvall ; L. Christensson (2014): SPOUSES’ EXPERIENCES OF MEALTIMES WITH A PARTNER SUFFERING FROM DEMENTIA. The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice (JARCP). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jarcp.2014.41

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