Clarissa Giebel, Sandra Zwakhalen, Caroline Louise Sutcliffe & Hilde Verbeek | Exploring the abilities of performing complex daily activities in dementia: the effects of supervision on remaining independent | Aging & Mental Health | published online 16 April 2019
Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the remaining abilities of people with dementia (PwD) in performing daily activities.
Method: Informal carers of community-residing PwD were recruited across England via mail out and carer support groups. Carers completed the revised Interview for Deteriorations in Daily Living Activities in Dementia 2 to rate the PwD’s initiative and performance of daily activities. Six complex instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) were selected: shopping, preparing a hot drink, using the telephone, preparing a cold meal, house work, and engaging in social activities, all of which were broken down into three sub-tasks. Data were analysed using Chi-square tests and linear regression analysis, assessing the contributions of hours of IADL care, hours of supervision, and dementia stage for each activity.
Results: 581 carers of people with mild, moderate, and severe dementia completed the questionnaire. The ability to perform individual activities deteriorated from mild to moderate to severe dementia, with PwD remaining the most able to perform subtasks of preparing a hot drink and a cold meal. Subtask performance varied across activities, with some better maintained than others across severity stages. Linear regression models showed that hours of supervising PwD explained a greater proportion of the variance of each IADL than IADL care hours.
Conclusion: PwD should be supervised to continue engaging in activities, thereby avoiding performing everything for the PwD. Findings can have implications for PwD living in nursing homes, and future research should explore the remaining IADL abilities of nursing home residents.