• COVID-19-related social support service closures and mental well-being in older adults and those affected by dementia: a UK longitudinal survey

      Giebel, C.; Pulford, D.; Cooper, C.; Lord, Kathryn; Shenton, J.; Cannon, J.; Shaw, L.; Tetlow, H.; Limbert, S.; Callaghan, S.; et al. (2021-01-04)
      Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on delivery of social support services. This might be expected to particularly affect older adults and people living with dementia (PLWD), and to reduce their well- being. Aims: To explore how social support service use by older adults, carers and PLWD, and their mental well-being changed over the first 3 months since the pandemic outbreak. Methods: Unpaid dementia carers, PLWD and older adults took part in a longitudinal online or telephone survey collected between April and May 2020, and at two subsequent timepoints 6 and 12 weeks after baseline. Participants were asked about their social support service usage in a typical week prior to the pandemic (at baseline), and in the past week at each of the three timepoints. They also completed measures of levels of depression, anxiety and mental well-being. Results: 377 participants had complete data at all three timepoints. Social support service usage dropped shortly after lockdown measures were imposed at timepoint 1 (T1), to then increase again by T3. The access to paid care was least affected by COVID-19. Cases of anxiety dropped significantly across the study period, while cases of depression rose. Well-being increased significantly for older adults and PLWD from T1 to T3. Conclusions: Access to social support services has been significantly affected by the pandemic, which is starting to recover slowly. With mental well-being differently affected across groups, support needs to be put in place to maintain better well-being across those vulnerable groups during the ongoing pandemic.
    • "I just keep thinking that I don't want to rely on people." a qualitative study of how people living with dementia achieve and maintain independence at home: stakeholder perspectives

      Rapaport, P.; Burton, A.; Leverton, M.; Herat-Gunaratne, R.; Beresford-Dent, Jules; Lord, Kathryn; Downs, Murna G.; Boex, S.; Horsley, R.; Giebel, C.; et al. (2020-01)
      BACKGROUND: Most people living with dementia want to remain in their own homes, supported by family and paid carers. Care at home often breaks down, necessitating transition to a care home and existing interventions are limited. To inform the development of psychosocial interventions to enable people with dementia to live well for longer at home, we qualitatively explored the views of people living with dementia, family carers and health and social care professionals, on how to achieve and maintain independence at home and what impedes this. METHODS: We conducted an inductive thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with 11 people living with dementia, 19 professionals and 22 family carers in England. RESULTS: We identified four overarching themes: being in a safe and familiar environment, enabling not disabling care, maintaining relationships and community connectedness, and getting the right support. For people living with dementia, the realities of staying active were complex: there was a tension between accepting support that enabled independence and a feeling that in doing so they were accepting dependency. Their and professionals' accounts prioritised autonomy and 'living well with dementia', while family carers prioritised avoiding harm. Professionals promoted positive risk-taking and facilitating independence, whereas family carers often felt they were left holding this risk. DISCUSSION: Psychosocial interventions must accommodate tensions between positive risk-taking and avoiding harm, facilitating autonomy and providing support. They should be adaptive and collaborative, combining self-management with flexible support. Compassionate implementation of rights-based dementia care must consider the emotional burden for family carers of supporting someone to live positively with risk.
    • A UK survey of COVID-19 related social support closures and their effects on older people, people with dementia, and carers

      Giebel, C.; Lord, Kathryn; Cooper, C.; Shenton, J.; Cannon, J.; Pulford, D.; Shaw, L.; Gaughan, A.; Tetlow, H.; Butchard, S.; et al. (2021-03)
      Objectives: The aim of this national survey was to explore the impact of COVID-19 public health measures on access to social support services and the effects of closures of services on the mental well-being of older people and those affected by dementia. Methods: A UK-wide online and telephone survey was conducted with older adults, people with dementia, and carers between April and May 2020. The survey captured demographic and postcode data, social support service usage before and after COVID-19 public health measures, current quality of life, depression, and anxiety. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to explore the relationship between social support service variations and anxiety and well-being. Results: Five hundred and sixty-nine participants completed the survey (61 people with dementia, 285 unpaid carers, and 223 older adults). Paired samples t-tests and X2 -tests showed that the mean hour of weekly social support service usage and the number of people having accessed various services was significantly reduced post COVID-19. Multiple regression analyses showed that higher variations in social support service hours significantly predicted increased levels of anxiety in people with dementia and older adults, and lower levels of mental well-being in unpaid carers and older adults. Conclusions: Being unable to access social support services due to COVID contributed to worse quality of life and anxiety in those affected by dementia and older adults across the UK. Social support services need to be enabled to continue providing support in adapted formats, especially in light of continued public health restrictions for the foreseeable future.