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Football and dementia: A qualitative investigation of a community based sports group for men with early onset dementia

Carone, Laura; Tischler, Victoria; Dening, Tom

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Laura Carone

Victoria Tischler

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Clinical Professor in Dementia Research


This study investigates the impact of a weekly group providing sport and physical activities for men with early onset dementia established by Notts County Football in the Community (NCFC). There were three aims: investigate the effect of early onset dementia on individuals with the condition and their carers; examine perceptions of current levels of service provision for people with early onset dementia; and analyse the impact of the group. Men with dementia (n=5) attending the sessions, their carers (n=5), NCFC coaching staff (n=5) and people organising/facilitating the sessions (n=5), were interviewed. Semi-structured interviews explored the participants’ experiences of dementia, their opinions on current service provisions and on the sessions. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Four main themes were found: loss related to the condition of dementia and its impact on relationships (‘Loss’); lack of age-appropriate services for people with early onset dementia (‘Lack of Resources’); enjoyment and positive anticipation related to the group for all involved (‘Enjoyment and Anticipation’); and ‘the Notts County Effect’ which attributed the success of the sessions to the strong brand of the football club, and to personalised service in a “dementia-free” environment. The NCFC sessions provided a safe low-cost intervention with positive effects upon quality of life for both people with early onset dementia, their carers and the staff involved. This suggests that the service may be valuable to a wider range of people living in different areas

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2014
Publication Date Nov 30, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 25, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 25, 2016
Journal Dementia
Print ISSN 1471-3012
Electronic ISSN 1741-2684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 6
Keywords dementia; early onset dementia; football; men; quality of life; sporting activities
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