Tavistock Relationships Living Together with Dementia Programme aims to improve the quality of life and mental health of couples living together with dementia.
Dementia can be difficult to understand and come to terms with, bringing challenges for couples at a time when your relationship with your partner is key.
Tavistock Relationships is developing this unique psychosocial intervention to improve resilience, adjustment and acceptance in couples living with dementia: increasing the length of time they can maintain their independence, remain active and preserve an intimate and familiar relationship with their partner – reducing the burden of care and health impacts on that partner/carer. Key to this intervention is that the couple relationship is used as a protective factor in managing the emotional sequelae associated with a diagnosis of dementia.
Tavistock Relationships trains health and social care staff (nurses, psychologists, counsellors and other professionals working with people with dementia) in the Living Together with Dementia (LTwD) protocols and supervises their programme delivery, leading to accreditation – embedding the programme whilst assuring quality and effectiveness.
Following an initial meeting, couples living with dementia receive eight home visits from a LTwD professional. Focusing on the couple relationship, these sessions use shared involvement in everyday activities as a basis for enhancing understanding and communication, mobilising existing strengths and addressing negative cycles of interaction which often accompany dementia.
Couples Living Together with Dementia are helped to:
- manage the loss and trauma of diagnosis
- find ways of adjusting to the changes accompanying dementia
- enhance emotional contact and understanding of each other’s feelings
- increase closeness and understanding
- continue with everyday activities together, that support wellbeing and interdependence and contain care needs
- recover/retain the protective aspects of their relationship, strengthening its resilience and ability to survive and act as a protective resource for the couple.
LTwD is an evidence-based programme which can reduce stress and burden for the partner/carer and so reduce institutional care needs through investment in the couple’s relationship. Investment in the training of health and social care staff in the LTwD approach will enable them to continue delivering LTwD to couples living with dementia in the future.