Living Well with Dementia: Feeling Empowered through Interaction with Their Social Environment

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Berit Ziebuhr - , St. Hedwig Kliniken Berlin (Joint first author)
  • Michele Zanasi - , St. Hedwig Kliniken Berlin (Joint first author)
  • Yolanda Bueno Aguado - , Fundación INTRAS (Author)
  • Raquel Losada Durán - , Fundación INTRAS (Author)
  • Tom Dening - , University of Nottingham (Author)
  • Isabelle Tournier - , Manchester Metropolitan University (Author)
  • Kristina Niedderer - , Manchester Metropolitan University (Author)
  • Ana Diaz - , Alzheimer Europe (Author)
  • Diana Druschke - , Center for Evidence-Based Healthcare (Author)
  • Rosa Almeida - , Fundación INTRAS (Joint last author)
  • Vjera Holthoff-Detto - , St. Hedwig Kliniken Berlin (Joint last author)


This study was designed to advance our understanding of how feelings of empowerment in people living with dementia still residing at home can be promoted. We conducted qualitative interviews with 12 participants with mild-to-moderate stages of dementia in Germany and Spain as part of a European study on mindful design for dementia. A qualitative thematic content analysis was performed to elicit the key features of the experience reported by the interviewees. Three overarching categories were identified: the first category 'experiencing changes in personal life and coping with changes in life' covered losses and coping strategies; the second category 'retaining a sense of usefulness' included social participation and the need for activities with others; the third category 'feeling empowered' covered reflections on lifetime achievements, accomplishments in the present life, being in control and self-worth. Participants placed a strong emphasis on continuity and on the importance of making active decisions and meaningful social contributions. Empowerment within the person living with dementia was achieved through their interactions with their social environment, including the significance of communication about their needs and wishes and enabling shared decision-making and interactions with others in reciprocity.


Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC10298713
Scopus 85163595350



  • Humans, Social Environment, Emotions, Decision Making, Social Participation, Dementia, Qualitative Research, Caregivers