Improving Quality of Life for Alzheimer’s Patients

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A common stigma assumes people living with Alzheimer’s disease can’t enjoy quality of life and lose all their abilities but quality of life for people living with dementia can be improved through participation in pleasant and meaningful activities, social interactions, music, and creative art projects. Being physically active and eating nutritious meals in a relaxed atmosphere can also help make each day a good one.

Research shows that people living with Alzheimer’s disease can reduce depression, increase feelings of competence, and improve relationships with family members.

Here are some suggested strategies and activities to enhance quality of life for people living with dementia:

Be physically active
Regular physical exercise can help people with dementia improve activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and eating, allowing them to be more independent.

Encourage social interaction
Daily one-on-one interactions, in which staff chatted with residents living with dementia about their passions, personal preferences and families, reduced agitation and pain, and improved quality of life.

Enrich life through music and art
Music provides a powerful way to connect, even after verbal communication becomes difficult. Art projects offer rewarding opportunities for self-expression and can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Offer choices
Give the person opportunities to make choices by asking about likes, dislikes and opinions which supports their individuality and independence.

Reminisce
Dementia patients always experience memory loss to varying extents, which significantly impacts their quality of life. However, studies indicate that reminiscing about past events can slow cognitive decline, improve mood, and stabilize general behavior. As a result, in the last 15 years, reminiscing therapy has become a popular intervention for patients with dementia.

Promote good nutrition
Meals should be relaxed, unhurried and free from distraction in well-let dining rooms that feel like a home rather than an institution, with tasty, nourishing food that stimulates the person’s senses and appetite.

Provide pet therapy
Changes in mood and behavior can often lead dementia patients to shy away from social engagement, leaving them feeling lonely and isolated. Pet therapy allows them to interact with animals free from social judgment and pressure, and the result is calmer, more engaged patients. Pet therapy not only brings joy to patients, but it can also increase their frequency of physical activity, provide emotional support, and an outlet for communication issues, and even restore a sense of purpose and order to their lives when caring for an animal.

Find creative ways to communicate
Meaningful communication and connections to other people can greatly enhance quality of life. Communication is possible at all stages of dementia and if a person’s speech becomes hard to understand, use what you know about them and what you’re feeling to help interpret what they may be trying to say. Avoid contradicting the person or trying to persuade them that what they believe is untrue or inaccurate.

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