It is important that the online peer support group is a safe and non-judgemental environment for everyone in the group. Most of all it is a platform for members to express themselves and support one another. It is the role of the facilitator to make everyone feel included, heard, and safe.
Explanation and Examples
Through 4 focus groups including a total of 20 people with Onset of dementia symptoms before the age of 65. More, and 9 individual interviews with people with Onset of dementia symptoms before the age of 65. More, people highlighted the importance of the role of the facilitator. Additionally, through speaking with online group facilitators, they shared what they think is important and what helps them to run a meeting well. Facilitators should:
Have good listening skills and not take over the conversation too much, but let the group decide what to discuss and what is important.
Make every member of the group feel included and give everyone a chance to speak. If people raise their hand, make sure to address everyone in order.
Make sure not one person dominates the conversation.
Call out bullying or abusive behaviour or language.
Check in with someone after the meeting if they appeared distressed or upset, or if they left suddenly without explaining why.
Really get to know the members, for example by meeting with them one-on-one before they join the group. In this way facilitators can learn what someone is expecting from the group, and what their needs are.
ThemesFacilitators Online intervention Peer support People with dementia Young Onset Dementia
Target groupsHealth care providers & patient organizations Social care providers
Type of evidence
Focus groups, individual interviews, informal consultations.
Gerritzen, E. V., Kohl, G., Orrell, M., & McDermott, O. (2022). Peer support through video meetings: Experiences of people with young onset dementia. Dementia (London, England), 14713012221140468. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/14713012221140468