Potentially up to a third of dementia cases may be attributable to potentially modifiable lifestyle risk factors.
This is the fourth edition of PHE’s Health Matters, a resource for public health professionals, which brings together important facts, figures and evidence of effective interventions to tackle major public health problems.
A virtual reality system permits people with mild to moderate dementia to participate in engaging life-sized interactive games and activities, with a view to improving their levels of physical activity, independence and confidence. The pilot project, operated by the local brain injury charity “Basic”, is called “Virtual Adventures” and has been funded by NHS Salford CCG.
Mitchell, G. & McCreevy, J. Dementia. Published online: March 14 2016
The ‘dementia friends’ programme was launched by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK two years ago with the purpose of educating members of the public about the things they can do which can enhance the lives of people living with dementia. The aim of this project was to deliver a two-hour ‘Dementia Friendly Community Workshop’ written by the Alzheimer’s Society, to an entire cohort of first-year undergraduate nursing students in one Higher Education Institutions in Northern Ireland.
Following delivery of the programme, students were asked to complete a short questionnaire on their knowledge and confidence in relation to dementia care before and after the Dementia Friendly Community programme. A total of 322 undergraduate first-year nursing students took part in the Dementia Friendly Community programme. Of these, 304 returned questionnaires; 31.25% of students stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘good’ while 49.01% stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘very good’ and 13.49% stated their perceived improvement in dementia knowledge was ‘excellent’. In relation to confidence in engaging with people with dementia, 31.91% stated ‘good’ improvement, 40.79% stated ‘very good’ improvement and 11.84% stated ‘excellent’ improvement.
The Dementia Friendly Community programme was positively reviewed by the undergraduate students as it enhanced knowledge and confidence in relation to care of someone living with dementia.
A new study, from UCLA Medical Centre and University of Pittsburgh, suggests that a variety of physical activities, from walking, to gardening and dancing, can increase brain volume.
The research was published today (Friday 11 March) in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The researchers studied 876 patients aged on average 78, across four research sites in the United States. Participants were asked questions about their physical activity habits and had MRI scans of their brains, which were analysed to measure the volumes of brain structures including parts associated with memory and Alzheimer’s disease. The relationship between physical activities, from gardening and dancing to riding an exercise bike at the gym, were compared to the brain’s volume.
The results of the analysis suggested that increasing physical activity was associated with increases in the volume of certain parts of the brain.
In the latest editorial of Aging & Mental Health, Myrra Vernooij-Dassen & Esme Moniz-Cook argue that person-centred care should not only be directed at compensating for what people with dementia cannot do, but also at facilitating their interests, pleasure and use of their capacities.
By Jo Moriaty for the Social Care Elf Blog. Published: 3rd March 2016
We know a lot about the long term consequences for family carers of supporting someone with dementia. Much of this research is cross-sectional, meaning that we only have a snapshot of how carers are managing. However, results from studies in which participants have been followed up over time (for example, Mahoney et al., 2005, Schulz et al., 2010) indicate that there is a ‘wear and tear’ effect whereby carers experience greater stress as time goes on and as the person for whom they care needs more support. This can lead to them finding it more difficult to cope with some aspects of caring than they did previously.
For pragmatic and methodological reasons, most published research has concentrated on carers looking after someone whose dementia has developed after the age of 65. We know much less about the challenges faced by those supporting a person whose dementia developed under the age of 65 (young onset dementia). Research such as this, which has both a longitudinal design and includes carers of people with dementia of all ages is long overdue.