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The value of peer support on cognitive improvement amongst older people living with dementia

Author(s)

CHAKKALACKAL Lauren

Publisher(s):

Social Services Research Group

Peer support can play a critical role in improving the wellbeing, social support and practical coping strategies of older people living with dementia. This paper describes selected findings from the Mental Health Foundation’s evaluation of three peer support groups for people living with dementia in extra-care housing schemes. It highlights the groups as a promising approach for maintaining cognitive faculties, reducing social isolation, increasing social networks and improving overall wellbeing. A mixed-method study design examined the impact of the groups on participants’ wellbeing, managing memory, independent living skills and social support. Participants reported positive impact from taking part in the support groups for wellbeing, social support and practical coping strategies. Participants also reported positive benefits of the groups on communication abilities, managing memory and managing their lives. Peer support groups in extra-care housing schemes address the psychological, social and emotional needs of people with dementia. This evaluation adds to the literature on the effectiveness of these interventions for those with cognitive impairment. (Publisher abstract)


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