Living With Dementia: A Meta-synthesis of Qualitative Research on the Lived Experience
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Gorska, S., Forsyth, K. & Maciver, D. (2018) Living With Dementia: A Meta-synthesis of Qualitative Research on the Lived Experience, Gerontologist, 58 (3), pp. e180-e196.
Purpose of the Study: To identify and examine the published qualitative research evidence relative to the experience of living with dementia. Design and Methods: Metasynthesis was used as the methodological framework to guide data collection and analysis. Results: Three themes were identified. The first theme considered the main condition-related changes experienced by people with dementia (PWD) and showed how these are interlinked and impact upon various areas of people's lives. The second theme indicated that amidst these changes, PWD strive to maintain continuity in their lives by employing various resources and coping strategies. The third theme underlined the role of contextual factors. The reviewed evidence indicates that, the emerging experience of PWD and their potential to adjust to the continuous changes is influenced by access to and quality of both personal and contextual resources which remain in a constant, transactional relationship to each other. Implications: The findings were interpreted and discussed in the context of relevant theoretical frameworks and research evidence. It was considered that current evidence and findings presented in this review can be further explored and expanded upon in a more systematic way through research conducted within the theoretical framework of dynamic systems theory. Further research would be also beneficial to explore the subjective experience of dementia from a participatory perspective. Exploring the application of these theoretical standpoints would contribute to the current state of knowledge and offer both PWD and carers fresh perspective on the nature of change and potential for adaptability in dementia.