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Proper care: the right moment for the right person

Activating interventions for elderly people with dementia living at home and their carers
Publication date: 01 January 2010

The development of indication criteria for referral to activating interventions that meet the requirements, characteristics and preferences of a client couple.

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People with dementia and their families who provide informal care need support and care. Psychosocial interventions aimed at both the person with dementia and the carer are important here. A number of activating, effective interventions keep older people with dementia active and, at the same time, support carers in coping with reduced capabilities and behavioural problems. It involves

  • occupational therapy for people with dementia who live at home and for the carer, whereby independence in daily activities will be practiced (Graff et al., 2006, 2007, 2008). The intervention increases the independence of the elderly with dementia, reduces the number of hours of care by the carer and increases their sense of competence. The quality of life for both increases and decreases depression.
  • It involves moving and movement exercises with care support (Teri et al., 1997; Teri et al., 2003, Prick et al., 2011.). This intervention improves physical and mental fitness, and reduces depression in both.
  • Finally, it comes down to learning to perform enjoyable activities in an appropriate manner (Verkaik et al., 2005, 2009; Gitlin et al., 2008). This intervention offers relaxation and reduces depression in the carer and client. Although scientific research has demonstrated the effectiveness of these interventions, they are not provided by default. The interventions each focus on a different field of activity: self-reliance, exercise and relaxation. Targeted reference can contribute to better customised support and meet the diverse needs of people with dementia and the carers (Smits et al., 2007). The effectiveness of the interventions can possibly be increased.

The aim of the research is to develop assessment criteria for activating the three interventions so that the most appropriate care can be processed at the right time with the person with dementia and the carer, and to incorporate these criteria into a useful tool for referrers.

In a qualitative study involving interviews with people with dementia, carers and the practitioner who took part in one of the activating interventions examined the factors for a connection. These led to the characteristics, needs and preferences of client pairs that are important for an indication of the different interventions. These indication criteria will be submitted to an expert panel to examine the content validity. In addition, the indication criteria are examined for applicability in a practical situation.

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