Fostering the resilience of people with dementia: A narrative literature review
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Whelan, Sally, Teahan, Áine, & Casey, Dympna. (2020). Fostering the Resilience of People With Dementia: A Narrative Literature Review. Frontiers in Medicine, 7(45). doi:10.3389/fmed.2020.00045
Background: Resilience is a process through which people use resources to adapt to adversity. Interventions aiming to support resilience in people with dementia have been developed. However, the optimal content, structure and impact of these interventions is unclear. This literature review explores the factors through which interventions foster resilience in people with dementia and examines their efficacy. Methods: Eight databases were searched systematically, for literature published from 2000 to 2019. Following the removal of duplicate articles, the titles and abstracts of 6,749 articles were screened. Articles were selected if they: reported empirical studies in English; focused on resilience; involved people with dementia and psychosocial interventions. The full text of 53 articles were examined and three studies, reported in six papers, were included in the final review. Data were systematically extracted, and two authors critiqued the studies using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme check lists. The studies were examined to determine how resilience was defined and operationalized and their findings were synthesized using the theoretical resilience framework. Results: Five interventions aiming to foster resilience were identified: Dementia Advisors; Peer Support Network Services; Visual Arts Enrichment Activities; Memory Makers; and Early-Stage and Beyond Community Activities. All studies defined resilience as a process and most involved people with mild dementia who had family carers. The interventions impacted resilience by reducing the adversity of stigma and social isolation; increasing personal and social resources, providing stigma-free space and reciprocal support. Interventions empowered people with dementia, increasing their self-esteem and self-worth. Resilience can be fostered both during, and after interventions. However, the efficacy of interventions could not be determined because the research designs utilized did not measure efficacy. Conclusions: Interventions need facilitators to ensure they are strength-based, person-centered and they enable reciprocal social interactions. Future research needs to develop interventions that aim to foster the resilience of people with dementia who lack family carers and/or have more advanced dementia through meaningful activities that are identified by people with dementia as important to their resilience. Robust methodologies, including randomized controlled trials should be used to measure effectiveness and explore the impact of interventions regarding the: interplay between individual and community resources; the importance of reciprocity; and temporal aspects of resilience.
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