People with dementia often have a lack of activity and that in itself leads to a low quality of life, according to findings of a large-scale national study on the quality of life of people with dementia in residential aged care. The study was by the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre and Griffith University, released on December 3, 2015, and presented by Professor Wendy Moyle from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland. It is particularly interesting that cognitive impairment was not found to be related to a resident’s activity score but staff and family members’ rating of a resident’s activity level was negatively related to their cognitive impairment to a high degree; those with severe impairment were seen as having lower activity levels. There appears to be a wrongly held assumption by staff and family that people with severe or late stage dementia are not capable of leisure activity or that they do not require the stimulation of activities. Although these people see themselves as having low ability, they have the capacity for a lot more. Just because people with dementia may be cognitively impaired, it doesn’t mean that they should miss out on engagement in an activity. The result can only further lower their cognitive ability and can also be an unmet need in the person that may be exhibited as behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and wandering, which can also result in an increased need for medication. Depression follows low activity levels. When people with dementia go into long-term care, there is a belief that they will be more engaged in activities and will experience an improved quality of life. This unfortunately is not always the case. Professor Moyle suggests that higher staff-to-resident ratios are required in care homes, with the potential for integrating increased numbers of volunteers to provide more leisure activities within the care setting. “Given that leisure activities are proven to be related to the overall qualify of life of this group, then there needs to be a concerted look at how this can be improved,” according to Professor Moyle. Read: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-12/gu-pwd120315.php
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