Exploring the Effects of a Golf Program on Psychological and Social Wellbeing for People With Dementia, Carers, and Staff

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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There is a paucity of evidence regarding the effects of sport and physical activity on wellbeing in dementia. The present study is the first known study to involve golf with this population. People with dementia (n = 10) and carers (n = 5) participated in a 6-week golf program, facilitated by golf center staff (n = 3). Multiple avenues of data collection were utilized and were subject to thematic analysis. Five central themes were identified: emotion, respite, losing the “dementia” label, friendship/camaraderie, and improving relationships. Underlying subthemes were also identified, while potential links between themes were highlighted. Themes were also considered in terms of which participants (person with dementia, carer, and staff) provided evidence for each theme. This study presents preliminary support for the role of golf to enhance the psychological and social wellbeing of people with early stages of dementia, carers, and staff. Potential mechanisms and future research are discussed.

Hill is with the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. Fihosy is with the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, Dartford, Kent, United Kingdom. Camic is with the Dementia Research Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom; and Salomons Institute for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, United Kingdom.

Camic (p.camic@ucl.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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