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A qualitative study of carers' experiences of dementia cafes: a place to feel supported and be yourself

Background: Unpaid, informal carers or caregivers play an important role in supporting people living with dementia but the role can be challenging and carers themselves may benefit from support. Alzheimer’s, dementia or memory cafés are one such form of support . These cafés are usually provided in the voluntary sector and are a place where people with dementia and those supporting them, usually family carers, can meet with others in similar situations. Methods: Using semi-structured interviews, this qualitative study explored the experiences of 11 carers from five dementia cafés in and around London, England. Results: Thematic analysis resulted in the identification of four key themes. Cafés provide a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere where carers can go where they feel supported and accepted. Café attendance often brought a sense of normality to these carers’ lives. Carers and those they care for look forward to going and often enjoy both the activities provided and socialising with others. Other highlighted benefits included peer support from other carers, information provision and support from the volunteer café coordinators. Despite diversity in how the cafés were run and in the activities offered, there were many reported similarities amongst carers in the value ascribed to attending the cafés. Conclusions: Dementia cafés appear to be a valuable, perhaps unique form of support for carers giving them brief respite from their caring role. Future research incorporating mixed methods is needed to understand the perspectives of those living with dementia.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
BioMed Central
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
BMC Geriatrics
Volume Number