Alzheimer’s: Achieving A Goal Helps

Achieving personal goals can help people in the early stages of dementia manage their condition.

Research published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry conducted by researchers at Bangor University, Wales found that people who received cognitive rehabilitation felt their performance of daily activities improved. Carers of those receiving the treatment also noted an improvement in their own quality of life.

Cognitive rehabilitation is a treatment where people with dementia work with health professionals to identify personal goals and develop strategies for achieving them. 

Goals were tailored to the participants’ specific needs and included things such as remembering details of jobs to be done around the house, maintaining concentration when cooking, learning to use a mobile phone and remembering the names of people at an exercise class. The cognitive rehabilitation group said they saw an improvement in their ability to carry out all of the chosen activities.

The trial compared eight weekly individual sessions of cognitive rehabilitation with relaxation therapy and no treatment. As well as setting and working on goals the cognitive rehabilitation group also learnt and practised techniques for taking in new information, managing stress and maintaining attention and concentration.

The Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, says, ‘This research is the first trial of its kind to evaluate the effectiveness of the ‘cognitive rehabilitation’ technique.   The findings provide a basis for a larger study of cognitive rehabilitation as a means of assisting people in the early stages of dementia and their families to better manage the condition.’

Millions will develop dementia in the next ten years according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. In order to enable people with dementia to live well with the condition we need more funding to further research in this area.

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