Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning.
People with the disease may lose their thinking, remembering, and reasoning abilities. Their daily life and activities can be strongly restricted.
Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions well, and their families and friends may notice their personality is changed.
Dementia has a wide range, from very mild to very serious. In its worst stage, the patient has to completely depend on other people for daily basic activities of living.
Thus, improve the quality of life of dementia patients is very important.
Recently, a study from University of Exeter reveals key factors to achieve this goal.
The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to check all published research about the factors related to quality of life in dementia. This included 198 studies with more than 37,000 patients.
Interestingly, basic factors like gender, age, education level, marriage and income were not linked to quality of life in people with dementia.
In addition, the type of dementia seems not important, too.
So what factors are really important for the quality of life in dementia?
The researchers found that poor physical and mental health, difficulties in activities and unmet needs were associated with poor quality of life.
On the contrary, good relationship with family and friends, active social interactions with others, being able to manage daily activities, and religious beliefs were linked to better quality of life.
The team also find that factors could be different for each individual.
The researchers said “While in general it is more of a challenge to maintain good quality of life as dementia progresses, we found little evidence to show what predicts whether quality of life will improve or decline over time.”
“Maintaining a healthy social life and doing things you enjoy is important for everyone’s quality of life. As this Alzheimer’s Society funded study highlights, people living with dementia are no exception.”
“Someone develops dementia every three minutes but too many are facing it alone and feel socially isolated- a factor that researchers pinpoint contributing to a lower quality of life.”
The team believes that this research can help optimize quality of life the 50 million people worldwide who suffer from dementia.
If more methods can be developed to put these findings into actions, then society can make a difference to people’s lives.
Dementia patients need supportive relationships and high-quality care programs. They have the right to continue living a life they love.
The full paper, entitled ‘Living well with dementia: a systematic review and correlational meta-analysis of factors associated with quality of life, well-being and life satisfaction in people with dementia’, is published in Psychological Medicine.
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