While not being able to perform certain day-to-day tasks such as operating an ATM machine or having a short-term memory might be what some people tag a nightmare, this is the lifestyle most dementia patients have grown to live with.
But then, even though that one-tablet-bullet that cures dementia has not been invented, isn’t there, at least, a means through which we can make the effects dementia has on its victims milder?
Actually, there is; social interactions. As out-of-this-world as that may sound, this article would explain just how.
First off, …
What do you know about dementia?
Contrary to most people’s perception, dementia is not part of the natural aging illness, neither is it a single disease.
Rather, dementia is a range of illnesses that occurs when the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory, decision memory, and other cognitive functions, are damaged. This often results in loss of memory, a decline in problem–solving skills, and an inability to perform ordinary everyday activities such as speaking an understandable language.
Although the symptoms of dementia vary greatly amongst individuals, dementias are progressive; meaning that symptoms may start slowly and gradually get more conspicuous. Examples of these symptoms include
● Problems encountered in keeping track of a purse or wallet
● Cognitive decline, including mental decline, ability to recognize familiar things and people, and an inability to think through normally, easy activities such as language speech.
● Psychological anomalies such as depression, hallucinations, and paranoia.
● Muscular abnormalities such as unsteady walking.
Apart from the symptoms listed above, there are a lot of other symptoms that are peculiar to the individual experiencing it.
Effects of social interaction on Dementia
In spite of how much trouble dementia could cause, scientists have narrowed down its treatment, and of course, prevention, to one thing- social interactions.
A new study published in PLOS shows how socially interacting with persons with dementia end up improving their quality of life(QoL) and further reduce agitation levels.
In the United States, approximately 64% of people living in nursing homes have dementia. So, the researchers- who are based in the University of Exeter Medical school- included 69 nursing homes in the United Kingdom, including those who made us of an adult day care software, in a study which aimed at evaluating the efficacy of a patient-centered care and psychosocial intervention in improving the quality of life of dementia patients.
Agitation, also referred to as anxiety, being a commonly reported symptom of dementia decreases a patient’s quality of life. So, the researchers monitored the participant’s anxiety levels in contrast with the rate of social interaction they engaged in, as a way of evaluating the impact social interaction has on dementia.
The method of approach involved training the caregivers on ‘patient-centered care’ techniques, and observing how the patients fare for a period of time.
This training was specific, as it pointed out ‘tailored and well-structured social activities’ each patient should undergo for a period of 60 minutes in a week. You can compare these kinds of training to that offered by a care management software.
These patients were 640 in total, and the study extended over a period of nine months.
At the end of the study, the patients were seen to have lower rates of agitated behaviors- which was expected, given the increment in the number of social interaction activities the patients were involved in.
In summary, people who are lonely are more likely to have dementia. So, get out of your shell and socialize. Its effects go past mere fun, instead, it also affects your psychological health positively.