2010

Dementia is a progressive, life limiting condition that, as cognitive and functional capacity decline, has an increasing impact on the health and quality of life of the person with the condition and their family caregivers (AIHW, 2012). It is a condition that is cloaked in stigma and misunderstanding, factors that have the potential to isolate those living with the condition from sources of practical and emotional support (Alzheimer's Australia, 2012). Recent advances in the treatment of dementia have not resulted in a cure or substantially altered the disease progression, which accentuates a need for early psychosocial intervention (Prince, Bryce, & Ferri, 2011). A proactive approach with interventions offered at the beginning of the disease/care trajectory is seen as a way to develop the coping resources of the person with dementia and their caregiver, to prevent or delay progression into a more dependent or critical period (Bates, Boote, & Beverley, 2003; Clare, Kinsella, Logsdon, Whitlatch, & Zarit, 2010; Moon & Betts Adams, 2012). Early-intervention also creates a window of opportunity for involving the person with dementia whilst they are still able to participate in planning discussions (Alzheimer's Australia NSW, 2012; Cooper et al., 2012; Whitlatch, Judge, Zarit, & Femia, 2006).