Study to Learn from Couples Living with Alzheimer’s

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posted December 5, 2011

BRANDON, MB — School of Health Studies faculty members — Fran Racher, Nancy McPherson and Dean Care — have received funding from the Alzheimer Society of Canada to undertake a study entitled Living with Dementia: The Experiences of Older Couples in Managing their Lives Together.

The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the experiences of older couples as they strive to manage their lives together, while one partner is experiencing dementia. Better understanding of the experiences, needs, resources and priorities of these couples will lead to change in the development and delivery of health services and programs to better meet their needs.

Program and policy changes may be proposed to help support older couples living with dementia. These could assist in sustaining their independence as a couple and extending their ability to continue to live together in the community by having a more satisfying quality of life for a longer period of time.

During the upcoming year, older couples will be interviewed every six to eight weeks. Both partners will participate in each interview together. There are three main goals of this project. The first is to gain more understanding of the experiences of older couples in managing their lives together while one partner is experiencing early or middle stage dementia. The second will be to start developing a framework and tools specific for the assessment of older couples living with dementia. Thirdly, it will address the creation of tools and how to adapt them specifically for working with these couples, for use by health professionals and others. Finally, the researchers will share their findings to inform couples living with dementia and their families as well as organizations involved in related program and policy development.

“Older couples who are living with dementia have much to teach us about the challenges they experience and the resources they require,” said Dr. Racher. “They can help us to be more effective in working with them, in developing appropriate programs, and in creating effective policy.”

For more information, please contact:

Joanne F. Villeneuve
Brandon University
270 – 18th Street
Brandon, MB R7A 6A9
Tel. 204-727-9762



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