Project

Social networks of people with dementia post diagnosis: systematic review of qualitative and quantitative evidence -AMM09

Short Summary

  • There is a growing number of people with dementia in the UK at risk of social isolation;
  • Social network analysts believe that the structure of the social networks can be an important predictor of individual outcomes and specifically well being;
  •  This study is using social network analysis as a useful method in health research but is underused in care homes and with people with dementia living at home.

Background

The structure of social relationships of the older generation, in particular people with dementia, is under-researched. Individuals with larger networks tend to have higher quality of life.

To explore in-depth how people living with dementia experience social networks.

  1. How do people with dementia describe and experience social networks, and how do social networks help them to live well?
  2. Can the method of social network analysis be used to look at the social networks of those with dementia in care homes?
  3. How does moving into a care home affect existing social networks and the ability to create new ones?
  4. What needs to be in place to plan community engagement initiatives that can nurture, sustain and create social networks?

Method:

A systematic review of the social networks of people with dementia in a care home and community settings.

Co-design an intervention to support ongoing social networks post-care home admission

A documentary review with (Dementia Diaries) of people living with dementia accounts of day to day living.

Case study of the social networks of people living dementia post-care home dementia in two care homes.

Project aims

To explore in-depth how people living with dementia experience social networks.

  1. How do people with dementia describe and experience social networks, and how do social networks help them to live well?
  2. Can the method of social network analysis be used to look at the social networks of those with dementia in care homes?
  3. How does moving into a care home affect existing social networks and the ability to create new ones?
  4. What needs to be in place to plan community engagement initiatives that can nurture, sustain and create social networks?

Project activity:

Since October 2018, work has focused on evidence review. The initial systematic review on social networks of people living with dementia produced two separate papers; one collating the findings of people residing in care, the other community settings.

In both reviews, no study used a consistent definition of social network or friendship. There is a lack of critical discussion about how the changing experiences and connections of older people with dementia are understood and captured.

Future work will address what can support the creation of meaningful networks of support for people newly admitted to a care home.

Potential or actual impact

Published reviews

Evidence of what facilitates social networks for people living with dementia.

Potential impact: Development of strategies for practitioners in community and long term care settings to identify and proactively support the maintenance and creation of new social networks for people living with dementia.

Researchers and institutions

Claire Goodman Elspeth Mathie

University of Hertfordshire

Contact:

Nicola Darlington

N.Darlington@herts.ac.uk

Claire Goodman 

(on maternity leave till Sept). c.goodman@herts.ac.uk