Tips for Quality of Life for People with Dementia

July 20, 2011


Dementia quality of life can be improved in those individuals afflicted with the debilitating disease. Despite this fact, many still feel that dementia translates into a miserable existence for those with dementia as well as their caregivers and loved ones.

General Considerations:
A rich mix of structured scheduled activities can increase the quality of life for an individual with dementia. Planned schedules and activities let this person know exactly what to expect on a daily basis, which can decrease anxiety and unwanted outbursts. The activities should lend themselves to socialization and foster a sense of community. Some of the activities should also incorporate tasks to imbue a sense of usefulness in the individual with dementia.

Key Dementia Quality of Life Factors:
In 2010, the Alzheimer’s Society published a study highlighting ten key dementia quality of life indicators.

  1. Relationships or someone to talk to – This indicator underscores the importance of continued socialization with family, friends and acquaintances, which can contribute to a greater sense of well being and purpose.
  2. Environment – Providing a safe and secure environment, not only at home but on outings, is of utmost importance. An individual having a sense of familiarity with their environment is also helpful.
  3. Physical health – Activities such as walking, hiking, golfing, tennis, singing and yoga when possible should be encouraged. All these activities contribute to physical and mental fitness.
  4. Sense of humor – Laughing and joking can help with depressive symptoms, which can accompany dementia.
  5. Independence – A sense of independence can be instilled by encouraging an individual with dementia to make choices and care for oneself.
  6. Ability to communicate – Communicate in plain sentences and allow individuals with dementia time to answer simple questions or carry out easy tasks. Indicating that you are listening to and understanding a person with dementia is also helpful.
  7. Sense of personal identity – Engaging in activities related to a former professional life or hobbies can achieve the desired effect. Also engaging in multi-generational family outings or events can be helpful.
  8. Ability or opportunity to engage in activities – Reading, puzzles, card games and other activities encourage an individual with dementia to refocus on things they find joyful and interesting. Simple hobbies such as painting or other crafts can have benefits.
  9. Ability to practice faith or religion – Church, religion and prayer can provide solace and meaning to the lives of those suffering with dementia.
  10. Experience of stigma – This factor refers to negative or ignorant reactions from individuals who have no understanding of the disease. The individual with dementia wants to be understood, but often cannot communicate. Reassure the individual that they are accepted by you.

Keeping the above factors in mind can have a positive impact on dementia quality of life for those individuals living with this life-changing condition.


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