Understanding the way that older people cope with dementia has important implications for the enhancement of the psychological well-being and quality of life of this group of people. This qualitative study explored how older people cope with dementia, by engaging 12 people with early-stage dementia in semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to identify the shared themes in participants' accounts. Three major themes emerged: 'managing identity in relation to dementia', 'making sense of dementia', and 'coping strategies and mechanisms' ( the latter theme divided into 'everyday, individual strategies', 'coping in relation to others', and 'personal attitude/approach'). There were also two additional themes in relation to process issues: issues of 'conflict and control' which were evident across all other themes, as was individuality and the importance of 'context' in coping with dementia. These findings are discussed in the relation to previous research in this field, and suggestions for further research and clinical practice are outlined.