• day care;
  • elderly care;
  • narratives;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • person-centred dementia care;
  • phenomenological hermeneutics

Aims.  The study was designed to assess how a day care programme once a week, for seven weeks, with group collaboration and social and cultural activities was experienced by clients. The aim was to provide some insight into how older adults with mild cognitive impairment perceive and experience day care.

Background.  As a consequence of social withdrawal, older adults with mild dementia may suffer a loss of meaningful social life and mental stimulus. Person-centred and collaborative day care may provide support to remaining abilities and facilitate for social activities. Little is known about client experiences and whether and how day care gives meaning to everyday life of persons with mild dementia.

Design.  A qualitative interview study in a narrative content analysis design.

Methods.  This study involved narrative interviews with nine Norwegian clients, aged 77–88 years of age, living at home, all being old people with mild dementia.

Results.  Three main themes emerged: ‘Ambivalence Shifts to Interest’, ‘Meaningful Engagement Engenders Wellbeing’ and ‘Social Fellowship Promotes Life Contentment’. The findings gave insights into how people with mild dementia had positive experiences from a once-a-week day programme.

Conclusions.  This study demonstrates feelings of more meaningful lives, well-being and contentment as effects of collaborative day care participation. Safe transfer was a prerequisite to participate. There is a need of more research on how to facilitate person-centred and collaborative day care provided for groups in different contexts, culturally pluralistic groups and groups of younger seniors with mild dementia.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Persons with mild dementia may practice remaining social and collaborative skills when care facilitate and moderate participant involvement. Therefore, facilitating for clients’ feelings of control in secure environments, narrative conversations, group activities and collaborative group interaction are suggested.