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Dementia: Learning Self-Management Skills Help

First Posted: Jan 21, 2016 12:30 PM EST
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New findings published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics show that group sessions can help with "self-management" during the early stages of dementia; the sessions used in the study encouraged discussion, problem solving, socialization and goal setting.

"Developing dementia can be a scary and isolating experience. We developed a group program to help people with dementia manage their condition and find ways of dealing with the changes in their lifestyle. We found early evidence that empowering people to manage their own symptoms and bringing them together helped them feel more confident about managing everyday life with dementia," said lead researcher Dr Catherine Quinn, Senior Research Fellow in The Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health (REACH), in a news release. "All this has helped to enhance their quality of life. The group members became friends and supported each other, and we found that they benefited from being able to learn from each other."

A pilot, randomized controlled study looked at a group of people with early stage dementia who attended 90-minute sessions over an eight-week period. These participants were then compared to those who received no intervention. Researchers interviewed participants with dementia--as well as their caregivers--to determine how they had benefited after three months and then again at six months.

Findings showed that participants greatly benefited from facilitator support, help provided and information. Not only that, they were better able to help themselves and find support in other community members as well.

However, researchers note that a larger scale trial will be needed in order to collect more definitive evidence.

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