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Telling life stories: a dyadic intervention for older Korean couples affected by mild Alzheimer's disease

  • Minyoung Kwak (a1), Ji Won Han (a2) and Jung-Hwa Ha (a3)

Abstract

Background:

Dementia has negative consequences for both persons with dementia and their family caregivers. Dyadic interventions in which both groups participate together have shown an effective and promising approach. The Couples Life Story Approach (CLSA) that was recently developed for older couples dealing with dementia in the USA was adapted and implemented for the older Korean population in this study. The purpose of this paper is to understand how older Korean couples dealing with dementia experienced the CLSA.

Method:

Fifty six couples (n = 102) completed the five-week intervention from December 2013 to October 2015. The participants completed a survey including open-ended questions one week after finishing the intervention. A thematic content analysis was conducted to analyze the responses.

Results:

Qualitative analysis revealed benefits and challenges in the experience of CLSA. Themes related to benefits were: (1) emotional benefits of reminiscing; (2) positive evaluation of life as a couple; (3) gratitude toward spouse; (4) changes in communications or activities with spouse; and (5) changes in relationship quality. Couples’ experience varied, with some having mixed feelings about the intervention. Challenges perceived by participants included revival of bitterness and identification of loss.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest the CLSA contributes to enhancing the quality of life for couples affected by Alzheimer's disease and improving their relationship. Challenges that emerged in the CLSA will guide future research to identify the sub-population that is appropriate for the couple-oriented intervention in dementia care.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Jung-Hwa Ha, Associate Professor, Department of Social Welfare, Seoul National University, 1 Kwanak-ro, Kwanak-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Phone: 82-2-880-6463; Fax: 82-2-888-6981. Email:junghwaha@snu.ac.kr.

Footnotes

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*

The two first authors have equally contributed to the work.

Footnotes

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