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Supporting the friendships of people with dementia

Ward, R and Howorth, M and Wilkinson, H and Campbell, S and Keady, J (2011) Supporting the friendships of people with dementia. Dementia, 11 (3). pp. 287-303. ISSN 1471-3012

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Abstract

Using illustrative case examples, in this paper we explore the friendships of people with dementia in the early stages of the condition and the benefits of looking beyond the family as the 'go to' support network that practitioners tend to focus on in their work with people with dementia. The importance of participatory approaches in both research and practice for understanding the friendship experiences of people with dementia is highlighted. The case studies include a personal narrative on friendships from one of the authors, a person living with dementia. This is followed by an account of a peer support group for people with dementia where the interactions in the group are explored alongside consideration of the significance and outcomes of creating such social spaces for people with dementia. We pay particular attention to the emerging phenomenon of 'facilitated friendships' as practitioners work to support collective agency on the part of people with dementia. © The Author(s) 2011.

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