From isolation to inclusion: Increasing access to social participation for older Australians with mild cognitive impairment/early dementia and their supporters

Project: Research

Project Details


Older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia often experience social isolation. Their supporters commonly experience social isolation too. Social isolation often leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, poor wellbeing, and the development of dementia. Research shows that frequent and varied social activities might both reduce the risk of developing dementia and slow the rate of cognitive decline in people with MCI. However, we have limited understanding of what factors make it difficult to maintain social activities once someone has been diagnosed. We also don’t know what factors help people to maintain social activities. Further, there are very limited scientifically validated programs to help people with MCI or early dementia and their supporters to maintain social activities. We are currently addressing this gap by conducting a survey and focus groups to identify the barriers and facilitators of social participation (ethics review stage). We want to use this information to adapt an existing geriatric Cognitive Behavioural Therapy intervention to address the specific barriers and social requirements for this vulnerable population. We plan to do this using focus groups with people with cognitive impairment and supporters. This adaptation will lead to a psychological intervention designed for older adults to address this need. We plan to pilot test the intervention over a 3-month period to evaluate whether it increases social participation and wellbeing. Increasing social participation in this population is likely to lead to reduced distress, increased wellbeing, and reduced risk for the development or progression of dementia subsequent dementia.
Effective start/end date4/08/233/02/25