Coping with disabilities
Many interventions for community dwelling people with dementia are aimed at improving cognition, performing daily tasks, language, or at delaying nursing home admission. The literature describes different types of effective interventions to help people with dementia cope with their disabilities,such as cognitive stimulation, multi-sensory activity, multidiscipinary support programmes, or behavioural therapy. Some of the interventions require the involvement of professionals, but other interventions can be carried out by a trained caregiver in the home of the person with dementia.
Assistive technology can be any form of electronic device that allows a person to perform a task that he or she would otherwise be unable to do. Assistive technology can support people with dementia in any of the following four areas: general or personalised information, practical support with regard to the symptoms of dementia; social contact and company; and health monitoring and perceived safety. Assistive devices include a wide range of items, such as simple 'low tech' calendar clocks, to 'high tech' telecare sensors.
Behavioural therapy aims to decrease the behavioural and mood symptoms that can be associated with dementia, such as depression, agitation or aggression. After identifying the reasons for the behaviour, the therapy uses a problem solving approach where different strategies are adopted to change a specific behaviour.
By providing caregivers with skills on, for example, how to reduce stress or avoid social isolation, and information on (medical aspects) of dementia, adverse effects for the person with dementia can be postponed or prevented.
Cognitive therapy aims to slow down cognitive decline, or improve cognitive capacity in people with dementia by stimulating memory and thinking. It involves therapies like cognitive stimulation and cognitive rehabilitation. These therapies use exercises to improve attention, and a wide range of activities, such as word games, puzzles, music, conversations on particular topics and practical activities such as gardening. Typically, cognitive training is carried out by trained staff with a small group of people with dementia at least two times a week.
Continuous support programme
Integrated long-term intervention programme for people with dementia and their carers, providing daytime activities and psychosocial support for people with dementia. In addition the program offers psychosocial support, and information on dementia and available services for informal carers.
Memory aids can support people with dementia in coping with disabilities they experience in their daily life. Frequently used memory aids are calendars and diaries.
By means of physical activity (sporting activities, games, or body experiences) psychomotor therapy aims to help people with dementia cope with the practical, emotional and social consequences of the disease.
This therapy aims to reduce feelings of mental disorientation, memory loss and confusion, and to improve feelings of self-esteem in people with dementia. This is achieved by activating people with dementia to restore contact with reality by repeatedly providing them with information about person, time, and place; and stimulating independent behaviour. The therapy is typically carried out in a group.