“Relationships, Very Quickly, Turn to Nothing” New Research from Dr. Ashwin Kotwal and Team

Dr. Ashwin Kotwal (Pepper Scholar Alumnus), Dr. Theresa Allison (Pepper PESC Scholar), Dr. Krista Harrison (Pepper PESC Scholar), Dr. Alex Smith (Pepper PESC Co-Director) and team recently published their research titled “Relationships, Very Quickly, Turn to Nothing”: Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Adaptation to Changing Social Lives Among Persons Living With Dementia and Care Partners

Persons with dementia and their care partners have known risks for loneliness and social isolation throughout the disease trajectory, yet little is described about social lives in a population heterogeneous for disease stage, syndrome type, and setting.

In this work, the team examined how isolation and loneliness are a shared experience and source of distress for persons with dementia and care partners. The team conducted a secondary analysis of qualitative interviews from multiple studies to triangulate responses from a cohort of persons with dementia (n = 24), and active (n = 33) or bereaved (n = 15) care partners diverse in setting, dementia type and stage, and life experience. Interviews explored challenges related to social lives and were analyzed thematically. These results can inform interventions tailored to individual needs and disease stages of dyads that enhance social connectedness.