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Six themes for maintaining a good life with dementia identified

Themes are based around maintaining identity, happiness and fulfilment as much as possible

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Six themes key to maintaining a good life for someone diagnosed with dementia have been highlighted in a new report.

The report ‘A Good Life with Dementia’ says that it is important that care acknowledges that every patient with dementia is different and support people with dementia to maintain their sense of uniqueness and personal identity.

This involves for that person achieving the right balance between memory-based activities and still enjoying the here and now, because while support with ‘remembering’ can be hugely valuable to people with dementia, this should be balanced with the importance of experiences in the here and now.  

A good life with dementia also involves ensuring people diagnosed with it are able to sustain relationships in some form and experience a full range of emotions. Physical and emotional wellbeing needs to be promoted, and in particular other aspects of ill health should not be disregarded. However, those with the condition should not be overly protected because the knowledge of certain death can bring a sense of freedom and thirst for life.

The report ‘A Good Life with Dementia’, funded by Red and Yellow Care and published in association with Alzheimer’s Society, was launched yesterday at The House of Lords. It is based on expertise and insights from those working in the field of dementia care, and the views of people with people with dementia and their carers.

“The Good Life with Dementia report not only challenges the stigma and negative attitudes towards the condition, but aims for a more hopeful perspective that we would like to see lead to more optimism in society’s approach to dementia,” said Dr Bahbak Miremadi, founding director of Red and Yellow Care, a new specialist dementia care service which has been set up to provide high quality integrated clinical care and support to people with dementia and their families.

He said that what was striking about the findings of the report was that they were “actually just stating the obvious”. “It’s about the things we all take for granted, but which are eclipsed by the panic, fear and stigma that have come to surround dementia. We need to get back to core principles if we’re going to enable people with dementia to see past their fear, and make the most of what is potentially a long, rich and rewarding time of life.”

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