Dementia-friendly housing charter

Housing organisations urged to unite against dementia | Azheimers UK

The charity Alzheimer’s UK has published the Dementia-friendly housing charter to help housing organisations better understand dementia and how housing, its design and supporting services can help improve and maintain the wellbeing of people affected by the disease.

dementia housing
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Research from the leading dementia charity has previously found that 85 per cent of people want to stay living at home for as long as possible when diagnosed with dementia, but that a third of the general public would not know where to find information about how to make their home and living environment suitable.

The charter, developed in partnership with Housing & Care 21, is the latest innovation from Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities programme, which aims to ensure people affected by dementia feel understood and included in all aspects of community life.

The publication can be downloaded here

Experiences of attending day care services designed for people with dementia

Margit Gausdal Strandenæs et al. | Experiences of attending day care services designed for people with dementia – a qualitative study with individual interviews |  Aging and Mental Health | Published online 27th March 2017

Objectives: Day care is assumed to promote independence in home-dwelling people with dementia, increase well-being and enhance social stimulation. Few studies have directly engaged people with dementia to better understand the benefits and impacts of such services. The aim of this study was to explore attendees’ experiences with day care designed for people with dementia.

Method: This study had a qualitative descriptive design and included individual interviews with 17 users attending day care. The analysis was undertaken using content analyses.

Results: The participants reported that day care had a positive influence on their physical functioning, cognition, well-being, and situation at home because they were provided with social stimulation, meals, and activities. Day care contributed to the maintenance of a rhythm and structure in everyday life. Furthermore, the staff contributed to making the day care a safe place to be and enhanced a sense of belonging.

Conclusion: This study reveals the positive impact of day care on the daily lives of people with dementia because this service contributes to the enhancement of activities and social support, prevents isolation, and enhances practical and cognitive functioning as experienced by the users. The staff has a major impact on the experience of the participants in the day care.

Daily consumption of tea may protect the elderly from cognitive decline

Tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older persons by 50 per cent and as much as 86 per cent for those who are genetically at risk of Alzheimer’s, new research suggests | ScienceDaily


The longitudinal study involving 957 Chinese seniors aged 55 years or older has found that regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly by 50 per cent, while APOE e4 gene carriers who are genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may experience a reduction in cognitive impairment risk by as much as 86 per cent.

The research team also discovered that the neuroprotective role of tea consumption on cognitive function is not limited to a particular type of tea — so long as the tea is brewed from tea leaves, such as green, black or oolong tea.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research article here

Non-pharmacological interventions to treat behavioural disturbances

Abraha, I. et al. (2017) Systematic review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to treat behavioural disturbances in older patients with dementia. The SENATOR-OnTop series. BMJ Open. 7:e012759


Objective: To provide an overview of non-pharmacological interventions for behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD).

Design: Systematic overview of reviews.


Conclusions: A large number of non-pharmacological interventions for BPSD were identified. The majority of the studies had great variation in how the same type of intervention was defined and applied, the follow-up duration, the type of outcome measured, usually with modest sample size. Overall, music therapy and behavioural management techniques were effective for reducing BPSD.

Read the full review here

Self-management programme for people with dementia and their spouses

Mountain, G. (2017) 20:26-27 | Commentary on: Laakkonen ML, Kautiainen H, Hölttä E et al. (2016) Effects of self-management groups for people with dementia and their spouses—randomized controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 64:752–60.

Implications for practice and research:

  • Promotion of self-management is important following dementia diagnosis, but questions remain regarding the level of disease severity which renders self-management unachievable.
  • Group-based self-management interventions are valued by those who participate but ability to tailor to individual needs is important.
  • Researchers must work with people with dementia to coproduce and test the acceptability of these complex interventions.
  • Researchers also need to consider what the benefits of self-management are for people with dementia and select the most appropriate outcomes to test the efficacy of such interventions.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here

NHS England Dementia: Good Care Planning

Care planning is crucial in delivering improved care for people living with dementia, and supporting their families and carers | NHS England

good care planning
Image source: NHS England

The importance of having a high quality care plan that is reviewed regularly is reiterated through its inclusion in the CCG IAF as one of the dementia indicators. It also forms a key part of the forthcoming evidence-based treatment pathway for dementia.

Simply having a care plan, whilst being a good start, is not enough. Any care plan needs to be personalised to the specific needs of each person with dementia and reflect changes in their care needs over time. To support the adoption of high-quality care plans NHS England has developed a guide Dementia: Good Care Planning, with input from people living with dementia, their carers and health and social care professionals.

View the full range of resources here

Young-onset dementia and the need for specialist care

Objectives: Receiving a timely and accurate diagnosis and gaining access to age-appropriate support for younger people living with dementia (YPD) remains a challenge both in the UK and internationally because the focus of most dementia services is primarily upon the needs of older people.

The political case to improve services for YPD depends upon the establishment of an understanding of the clinical symptoms, an unequivocal evidence base about need and an accurate evaluation of the size of the population affected. This short report assesses the evidence base from international studies regarding service design and delivery. The goal is to raise awareness, advance best practice and galvanise the international community to address the serious underfunding and underprovision of care for this marginalised group.

Conclusion: The current evidence suggests that there are universal problems, regardless of continent, with delays to diagnosis and poor understanding of optimum models for service provision and long-term care.

Full reference: J.E. Carter, J.R. Oyebode & R.T.C.M. Koopmans : Young-onset dementia and the need for specialist care: a national and international perspective. Aging & Mental Health. Published online March 14th 2017.

Association of comorbidity and health service usage among patients with dementia in the UK

Browne, J. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e012546

Social Care Photography, DH

Background: The majority of people with dementia have other long-term diseases, the presence of which may affect the progression and management of dementia. This study aimed to identify subgroups with higher healthcare needs, by analysing how primary care consultations, number of prescriptions and hospital admissions by people with dementia varies with having additional long-term diseases (comorbidity).

Discussion: In the UK, people with dementia with higher numbers of comorbidities die earlier and have considerably higher health service usage in terms of primary care consultations, hospital admissions and prescribing. This study provides strong evidence that comorbidity is a key factor that should be considered when allocating resources and planning care for people with dementia.

Read the full article here

Forgetting but not gone: dementia and the arts

A fascinating project is harnessing the power of the arts to unlock creativity and communication | The Guardian

B0011048 Alzheimer's disease, artwork
Image source: Florence Winterflood – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image shows an artistic interpretation of Alzheimer’s Disease

Supported by the Wellcome Trust and housed in its Hub space at the top of the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road in London, Created Out of Mind is the brainchild of Sebastian Crutch, a neuropsychologist in the Dementia Research Centre of University College London. As well as challenging stereotypes about what it means to live with dementia, the project aims to develop better tools for assessing the value of using arts with people who have these conditions. All too often, such efforts are perceived as “giving them something to do”, or perhaps as utilitarian therapies for sustaining cognitive skills. But if the real personal enrichment of the arts often comes “in the moment”, why should it be any different for people with dementia? And such activities can reveal a creativity obscured by impairment of an individual’s resources for regular communication.

Read the full news story here

Blueberry concentrate improves brain function in older people

Drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people, according to research by the University of Exeter. | ScienceDaily | Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism


In the study, healthy people aged 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and activation of the brain while carrying out cognitive tests. There was also evidence suggesting improvement in working memory.

Of the 26 healthy adults in the study, 12 were given concentrated blueberry juice providing the equivalent of 230g of blueberries once a day, while 14 received a placebo.

Before and after the 12-week period, participants took a range of cognitive tests while an MRI scanner monitored their brain function and resting brain blood flow was measured.

Compared to the placebo group, those who took the blueberry supplement showed significant increases in brain activity in brain areas related to the tests.

Full reference: Bowtell, J. et al . Enhanced task related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, March 2017