What difference does relationship quality make to people with dementia and carers?

Dr Isla Rippon from Brunel University London and Dr Catherine Quinn from the University of Bradford have been researching the influence of relationship quality on the well-being of people living with dementia and their carers. This research was recently published in the Aging and Mental Health  https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1617238. 

A lay summary can be read here:

People with dementia are often cared for by people with whom they have a pre-existing relationship, such as husbands, wives, children or friends. Dementia may change the nature of this relationship and previously established roles, as one of the pair adopts the role of the ‘carer’ who increasingly has to provide care for the other person. This may change the quality of the relationship between the care and person with dementia.

As part of the ‘Improving the Experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life’ (IDEAL) study we looked at the quality of the relationship between the person with dementia and the carer. We were interested to see whether each person’s view of the relationship influenced satisfaction with life and well-being for both members of the pair.

We used information provided by 1,283 people with dementia and their carers who had taken part in the IDEAL study. The IDEAL study looks at what helps people to ‘live well’ with dementia.  We asked people with dementia and carers about their current relationship, satisfaction with life and well-being.

We found that ratings of current relationship quality are important for life satisfaction and well-being. Where a person with dementia or a carer rates relationship quality as high, this is linked to better satisfaction with life and greater well-being for that individual. It does not, however, affect satisfaction with life or well-being for the other member of the pair.  These findings highlight the need to take account of the individual viewpoints of both the person with dementia and the carer, and support each of them to maintain a positive view of the relationship. This will be beneficial for the satisfaction with life and well-being of both the person with dementia and carer.

The full article can be viewed here: Rippon, I., Quinn, C., Martyr, A., Morris, R.G., Nelis, S.M., Jones, I.R., Victor, C.R., & Clare, L. on behalf of the IDEAL programme team. (2019). The impact of relationship quality on life satisfaction and well-being in dementia caregiving dyads: findings from the IDEAL study. Aging and Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1617238

For more information about the IDEAL Study please visit: http://www.idealproject.org.uk/

Dr Catherine Quinn, Centre of Applied Dementia Studies, @cquinn196

 

 

Dr Isla Rippon, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, @IslaRippon