Self-management programme for people with dementia and their spouses

Mountain, G. (2017) 20:26-27 | Commentary on: Laakkonen ML, Kautiainen H, Hölttä E et al. (2016) Effects of self-management groups for people with dementia and their spouses—randomized controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 64:752–60.

Implications for practice and research:

  • Promotion of self-management is important following dementia diagnosis, but questions remain regarding the level of disease severity which renders self-management unachievable.
  • Group-based self-management interventions are valued by those who participate but ability to tailor to individual needs is important.
  • Researchers must work with people with dementia to coproduce and test the acceptability of these complex interventions.
  • Researchers also need to consider what the benefits of self-management are for people with dementia and select the most appropriate outcomes to test the efficacy of such interventions.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here

Self-management support helps carers of people with dementia

Professional self-management support interventions can help the carers of people with dementia cope better. Integrating psycho-education into self-management support may be particularly effective. 

Reviewers from the Netherlands examined interventions to support self-management amongst the carers of people with dementia. They searched five bibliographic databases for systematic reviews available as of March 2014. Ten reviews were included. There was evidence of the effectiveness of professional self-management support interventions targeting psychological wellbeing for reducing stress and improving social outcomes. Interventions providing information were found to increase knowledge. There was limited evidence identified about techniques to cope with memory change on coping skills and mood.


Qualitative evaluation of a self-management intervention for people in the early stage of dementia

Dementia July 2015 vol. 14 no. 4 418-435


Self-management programs are effective for people living with chronic illnesses. However, there has been little research addressing self-management for people with dementia in the early stages. This study presents a qualitative evaluation of the experiences of attending a novel self-management program and initial process evaluation.

The program was designed with and for people with dementia. It addresses: (a) relationship with family, (b) maintenance of an active lifestyle, (c) psychological well-being, (d) techniques to cope with memory changes and (e) information about dementia.

Six participants with early stage dementia completed the intervention that was co-delivered by lay and clinical professional tutors. Participants and tutors attended focus group and interviews at the end of the program to explore their perceptions of the intervention. These were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Participants reported enjoyment and benefits from the intervention. This was despite some reporting concerns relating to their memory difficulties.

The program’s flexible nature, focus on strengths and the opportunity to spend time with other people living with dementia were particularly well received. Participants and tutors outlined areas for further improvement. The program was feasible and its flexible delivery appeared to facilitate participant benefit. Emphasis should be placed on maintaining activity and relationships, improving positive well-being and social interaction during the program. Memory of the pleasant experience and strengths focus was evidenced, which may impact positively on quality of life.

The results highlight the usefulness and acceptability of self-management for people with early stage dementia and provide initial support for the program’s structure and content.

via Qualitative evaluation of a self-management intervention for people in the early stage of dementia.