Living positively with dementia: a systematic review and synthesis of the qualitative literature

Aging & Mental Health: Published online: 16 Jun 2015

Objective: Little is known about how and to what extent people with dementia live positively with their condition. This study aimed to review and carry out a synthesis of qualitative studies where accounts of the subjective experiences of people with dementia contained evidence of positive states, experiences or attributes.

Methods: A meta-synthesis was undertaken to generate an integrated and interpretive account of the ability of people with dementia to have positive experiences. A methodological quality assessment was undertaken to maximize the reliability and validity of this synthesis and to contextualize the findings with regard to methodological constraints and epistemological concepts.

Findings: Twenty-seven papers were included. Three super-ordinate themes relating to positive experiences and attributes were identified, each with varying and complementing sub-themes. The first super-ordinate theme related to the experience of engaging with life in ageing rather than explicitly to living with dementia. The second theme related to engaging with dementia itself and comprised the strengths that people can utilize in facing and fighting the condition. The third theme captured how people with dementia might transcend the condition and seek ways to maintain identity and even achieve personal growth.

Conclusions: This review provides a first step towards understanding what conceptual domains might be important in defining positive outcomes for people who live with dementia. Highlighting the potential for people to have positive experiences in spite of or even because of their dementia has important implications for de-stigmatizing dementia and will enhance person-centred approaches to care.

via Taylor & Francis Online.

More on the Association Between Dementia and Poor Sleep Quality (NHS Choices / Nature Neuroscience)


Recent US research found an apparent link between poor sleep quality and higher levels abnormal protein (beta-amyloid plaques) in the brain. The following NHS Choices Behind the Headlines critical appraisal puts the limitations of this interesting research into perspective.

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Reference: Mander, BA. Marks, SM. [and] Vogel, JW. [et al] (2015). β-amyloid disrupts human NREM slow waves and related hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation. Nature Neuroscience. July 2015, Vol.18(7), pp.1051-7. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).

via More on the Association Between Dementia and Poor Sleep Quality (NHS Choices / Nature Neuroscience).

Decreasing spatial disorientation in care-home settings: How psychology can guide the development of dementia friendly design guidelines

Dementia 1471301215591334, first published on June 24, 2015

Alzheimer’s disease results in marked declines in navigation skills that are particularly pronounced in unfamiliar environments. However, many people with Alzheimer’s disease eventually face the challenge of having to learn their way around unfamiliar environments when moving into assisted living or care-homes. People with Alzheimer’s disease would have an easier transition moving to new residences if these larger, and often more institutional, environments were designed to compensate for decreasing orientation skills.

However, few existing dementia friendly design guidelines specifically address orientation and wayfinding. Those that do are often based on custom, practice or intuition and not well integrated with psychological and neuroscientific knowledge or navigation research, therefore often remaining unspecific. This paper discusses current dementia friendly design guidelines, reports findings from psychological and neuropsychological experiments on navigation and evaluates their potential for informing design guidelines that decrease spatial disorientation for people with dementia.

via Decreasing spatial disorientation in care-home settings: How psychology can guide the development of dementia friendly design guidelines.

Should UK society adjust to dementia?

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published How can and should UK society adjust to dementia? This paper aims to stimulate debate about new ways forward in understanding, and ways to meet the needs of the growing number of people living with dementia. The publication explores the application of the social model of disability to dementia. It looks in detail at what this social model is, and where it has come from, bringing together the authors’ interests in disability and ageing, and training in disability studies and health and social geography.

Benefits of Timely Diagnosis and Early Intervention in Dementia (BMJ)

Benefits of Timely Diagnosis and Early Intervention in Dementia (BMJ).

By 2050 an estimated 135 million people worldwide will have dementia. In 2010 the global cost of dementia care was estimated at $604bn (£396bn; €548bn) and estimated to increase to $1tr by 2030.1 Of all chronic diseases, dementia is one of the most important contributors to dependence and disability.

In the absence of a cure, a professional belief that nothing can be done has contributed to delays in diagnosis. However, increasing evidence showing that dementia may be preventable has led to an international focus on earlier diagnosis and intervention. This review aims to summarise current evidence and best practice in the diagnosis and early intervention in dementia care

via Dementia and Elderly Care News.

The needs of dental patients with dementia

Health Education England has launched a new film aimed at dental professionals to raise awareness of the issues faced by patients with dementia when attending a dental appointment. The film looks at the process of attending a dental appointment through the eyes of a dementia sufferer, highlighting just how daunting the whole process can be.  It aims provide dental teams with information on how difficult things can be for sufferers and provide some ideas on how to make arrangements to make the process smoother and easier for their patients.