The number of people living with dementia continuously increases as the population continues to age. Accordingly, proper health care and appropriate nursing homes are more important than ever before.
Employees in residential facilities around the world started to ask their dementia patients questions about their likes and what activities they enjoy. Researchers found, that this approach makes people with dementia feel independent and confident. Both aspects can help to improve the quality of live and atmosphere at care centres. Cameron Camp, director of research and development at the Centre for Applied Research in Dementia in Solon, Ohio says, that they look at dementia as a form of disability rather than as a disease. He completes his statement saying: “When you focus on dementia as a disease, then you are focusing on deficits. Our approach is – what can we do to help these people”.
Scientists collaborated to create an environment which meets each patient’s individual psychological needs. A simple but effective idea to do so, is to generate personalised schedules. The plans can vary to being monthly or daily. This offers a solution to establish programs which perfectly suit each person with the disease, giving everyone the opportunity to focus on their hobbies. Social interactions can influence dementia patients hugely. Schedules don’t only have practical advantages but they also have the ability to make patients feel like they are still independent. What may seem surprising is the significant lower reduction in the use of sleeping pills. This is due to the fact, that people, who are mentally engaged during the day, can easily fall asleep at night.
These studies show how simple and effective interventions can yield benefits for people living with dementia. Canary Wharf is a great example of implemented ideas to be considerate of cognitively challenged Londoners. Further proof that a purpose built Dementia Café really will make a difference to people’s lives once built. “Crossrail Place Roof Garden” has been built with similar thoughts in mind. It is a perfect landmark for people with dementia because they can play piano or listen to music. “Engagement”, tells Dr. Cohen-Mansfield “decreases behavioural problems. The most potent stimuli is social engagement.” With this in mind we all should be able to light up each and every single day for anyone living with dementia.