Date: Monday, June 5, 2017
Session Title: Quality Of Life/Caregiver Burden in Movement Disorders
Session Time: 1:45pm-3:15pm
Location: Exhibit Hall C
Objective: To explore relationship satisfaction and aspects of intimacy in female partners of people with cognitive impairment associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) using qualitative methods.
Background: The diagnosis of a movement disorder such as PD in an individual may have repercussions on their life partner and the couple’s relationship may alter. As dementia emerges, the burden of clinical symptoms and functional impairment increases, which may also impact on the relationship and have implications for outcomes of the condition. To date, relationship satisfaction of partners of people with Parkinson’s-related cognitive impairment (mild cognitive impairment, PD-MCI; Parkinson’s disease dementia, PDD, or Dementia with Lewy Bodies, DLB) has yet to be fully explored.
Methods: Individual, in-depth, exploratory semi-structured interviews with life partners of people with PD-MCI, PDD or DLB were undertaken at participants’ homes. Reflective diary and field notes were written after each interview. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: Initial analyses of female life partners, who were the primary care providers for individuals with PD-MCI, PDD or DLB, were conducted. These revealed that the emergence of cognitive impairment (regardless of disease severity and duration) and neuropsychiatric disturbances were significantly more difficult to accept, manage and cope with than the motor symptoms of PD. The presence of Parkinson’s resulted in a practical need for couples to spend more time together to enable the spouse to support their partner in managing activities of daily living. In contrast, at an emotional level, the spouse felt more distanced from their partner. All participants expressed that their relationship satisfaction was significantly different compared with the early stage of the disease, and multiple types of intimacies, including social, emotional, intellectual and physical, had changed as a result of their partners’ illness.
Conclusions: The experiences of life partners can provide valuable insights about how intimate relationships transform as dementia develops in PD. Recognising and understanding these perspectives is essential in order to foster positive outcomes in the condition.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:S. Vatter, K. McDonald, S. McCormick, I. Leroi. Changing patterns of intimate relationships as dementia emerges in Parkinson’s disease [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2017; 32 (suppl 2). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/changing-patterns-of-intimate-relationships-as-dementia-emerges-in-parkinsons-disease/. Accessed December 5, 2023.
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MDS Abstracts - https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/changing-patterns-of-intimate-relationships-as-dementia-emerges-in-parkinsons-disease/