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Better Self-Management Can Aid in Coping with Early Dementia

Better Self-Management Can Aid in Coping with Early Dementia

A new U.K. study finds that people with early-stage dementia can better manage everyday challenges by learning about their condition.

Researchers found weekly “self-management” group sessions to encourage socialization, discussion, problem-solving, and goal-setting fostered independence and promoted social support among people with dementia.

Study findings appear in the journal International Psychogeriatrics.

The group meetings, led by trained facilitators, were focused on providing people with a better understanding of their dementia and ways to cope with it.

Participants were supported in their ability to manage their own symptoms, treatment, and lifestyle changes with information and expert help. They were then encouraged to share ideas and strategies for dealing with their condition and were encouraged to record notes and reminders in a handbook.

“Developing dementia can be a scary and isolating experience,” said lead researcher Dr. Catherine Quinn. “We developed a group program to help people with dementia manage their condition and find ways of dealing with the changes in their lifestyle. We found early evidence that empowering people to manage their own symptoms and bringing them together helped them feel more confident about managing everyday life with dementia.

“All this has helped to enhance their quality of life. The group members became friends and supported each other, and we found that they benefited from being able to learn from each other.”

The pilot randomized controlled study, which was funded by Health and Care Research Wales, compared a group of people with early stage dementia who attended the 90-minute sessions for eight weeks to a group who received no intervention.

The impact of the sessions was assessed by interviews with people with dementia and their caregivers after three months and then again after six. Results showed that participants benefitted from the facilitator support, information, and help provided, and became better able to help themselves and found support in other group members.

“We will need to carry out a larger scale trial to obtain more definitive evidence, but our initial results indicate that enabling people with dementia to take control and manage their condition can be beneficial,” Quinn said.

Source: University of Exeter
Learning group of elderly people photo by shutterstock.

Better Self-Management Can Aid in Coping with Early Dementia

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Better Self-Management Can Aid in Coping with Early Dementia. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 20 Jan 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.