Posted on November 21, 2013

Care approach can lead to decline in dementia sufferers

The care approach of focussing on the physical safety of those with dementia could lead to a decline in their condition, according to a recent study. The study, which was part of a Risk and Resilience in Living with Dementia project led by Professor Clarke of Edinburgh University's School of Health in Social Science, has shown that some carers and other health practitioners could be causing problems for dementia sufferers while they are trying to help them to learn to cope with the condition.  The issue is that the carer may be too 'risk averse' and this could help to reduce a person's sense of identity and their ability to maintain their quality of life.  This can result in the dementia sufferer feeling that they are undervalued, which can hasten their decline. The anxiousness of carers when dealing with dementia means that they might be over-vigilant regarding physical health.  Activities that can help, such as meeting people and going for a walk, can then be abandoned.  The result can be that the dementia sufferers lose confidence, which then leads to a decline in their condition. There is a campaign at the moment to promote an earlier diagnosis of dementia, which brings with it the need for an understanding of how to live properly with the condition.  The diagnosis of dementia can be difficult enough to live with without the changes that it brings in terms of employment, independence and social life. It is considered that risk enablement is a better approach to take with dementia care.  Focussing on independence is preferable, as it encourages people to continue to do the same things they always did.  This approach could involve family members and neighbours offering support as the sufferer continues with their everyday activities.
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