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Just an hour of social interaction improves life of dementia patients

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 July 2017, 12:33 IST

If your grandparents are suffering from dementia, then you can help them by interacting with them about their interests for an hour a week and improve their quality life.

Dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with daily functioning.

Researchers at the University of Exeter, King's College London and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust led the study.

The team analysed more than 800 people with dementia across 69 care homes in South London, North London and Buckinghamshire.

Two 'care staff champions' at each home were trained over four day-long sessions, to take simple measures that such as involve talking to residents about their interests and decisions around their own care. When combined with just one hour a week of social interaction, it improved quality of life and reduced agitation.

Lead researcher Clive Ballard said, "People with dementia, who are living in care homes are among the most vulnerable in our society."

"Incredibly, of 170 carer training manuals available on the market, only four are based on evidence that they really work. Our outcomes show that good staff training and just one hour a week of social interaction significantly improves quality of life for a group of people who can often be forgotten by society," Ballard added.

According to researchers, this approach significantly improves lives, reduces agitation and actually saves money too. This training must now be rolled out nation-wide so other people can benefit.

Doug Brown, Director of Research for Alzheimer's Society said, "70 percent of people living in care homes have dementia, so it is vital that staff have the right training to provide good quality dementia care."

The study shows that training to provide this type of individualised care, along with activities and social interactions, has a significant impact on the well-being of people living with dementia in care homes.

The results were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2017 (AAIC) in London.


First published: 18 July 2017, 12:33 IST