Learning to live with early dementia

Can J Nurs Res. 2009 Mar;41(1):366-84.


Much of the literature on early dementia is focused on caregiver perspectives, while little is known about the perspective of persons with early-stage dementia such as what it is like to live with this syndrome. This study was conducted to explore the process of learning to live with early-stage dementia. Interviews were conducted with 6 early-stage participants (3 men and 3 women) ranging in age from 61 to 79 years.Theory construction was facilitated using a qualitative approach and grounded theory. A preliminary theoretical framework was developed from the data which outlines a 5-stage process of learning to live with dementia that begins with various antecedents and proceeds through the stages of anticipation, appearance, assimilation, and acceptance. This process evolved as participants' awareness of themselves and their outer world changed. Ultimately, the findings of this study have several implications for clinicians and researchers working with persons in early-stage dementia.