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The role of social support networks in the dementia literacy of older adults in Wales / CAROL MADDOCK
Swansea University Author: CAROL MADDOCK
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Copyright: The author, Carol Maddock, 2019. Released under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Only (CC-BY) License.Third party content is excluded for use under the license terms.Download (4.38MB)
DOI (Published version): 10.23889/SUthesis.61499
Dementia is a global and national priority although knowledge about it within the general public is low. Raising awareness of dementia has been established as an important area of public health policy. This thesis examined the relationship between general understandings of dementia and influences on...
|Supervisor:||Keating, Norah C. ; Hyde, Martin|
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Dementia is a global and national priority although knowledge about it within the general public is low. Raising awareness of dementia has been established as an important area of public health policy. This thesis examined the relationship between general understandings of dementia and influences on attitudes towards risks and lifestyle behaviours, how views are shared, and how interactions with individuals are affected. These relationships are encapsulated within the concept of dementia literacy. Dementia literacy is a relatively new area of investigation, set within the overarching construct of health literacy. Health literacy concerns the capacities of people to meet the complex demands of health, including promoting health and preventing illness, and is important for individuals and communities. This study’s mixed methods approach examined levels of population health literacy and explored understandings of dementia literacy within the older Welsh population. A health literacy measure was imputed using data from the Cognitive Functioning and Ageing Study Wales, a nationally representative survey of older adults. The measure enabled relationships between health literacy and social factors to be determined. In depth interviews with a subset of participants were conducted to provide a picture of dementia literacy and how it was shared within networks. Data were analysed using a qualitative framework approach. Findings indicate that levels of health literacy differ by support network type and social participation. Interviews identified imbalanced, fragmentary and distorted dementia knowledge and an aversion to learning more. Negative attitudes towards dementia discouraged engagement in dementia literacy. Participant’s social contexts did not facilitate knowing more about dementia, due to a mix of fear, fatalism and stigmatising attitudes. Participants reported that support network members frequently deflected attempts to discuss personal worrisome symptoms. Effective DL strategies must incorporate strategies to address fear, fatalism and stigma. An enhanced definition and framework of dementia literacy is suggested.
ORCiD identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8039-1854
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences