The COVID-19 pandemic as experienced by the spouses of home-dwelling people with dementia : a qualitative study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBMC Geriatrics. 2021, 21, 583. 10.1186/s12877-021-02551-w
Background Worldwide, restrictive measures have been taken to manage the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and self-isolation have considerably affected the lives of people with dementia and their informal caregivers. The purpose of the study was to explore the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as experienced by the spouses of home-dwelling people with dementia in Norway. Methods The study had a qualitative descriptive design using individual telephone interviews for data collection. A total sample of 17 spouses of people with dementia were included, 14 women and three men ages 52 to 82 years. A qualitative content analysis following six steps inspired by Graneheim and Lundman was used to identify the categories presented. Results The participants emphasized four main perspectives: 1) Radical changes in available services, 2) Restrictions changed everyday life, 3) Impacts on health and well-being, and 4) Actions that made life easier. The participants also described how positive activities and easily accessible services helped them in this situation. Conclusions The governmental restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in radical changes in available services with severe consequences for the lives and well-being of home-dwelling people with dementia and their spouses. Examples of coping strategies and possible psychosocial interventions compatible with virus precautions were identified. The potential of such interventions should be further explored to meet the needs of vulnerable groups in situations like a pandemic.