Research unlocks keys to quality of life in dementia

The University of Exeter has identified factors that can support people to live as well as possible with dementia.

Good relationships, social engagement, better everyday functioning, good physical and mental health, and high-quality care are all linked to better quality of life for people with dementia, the University’s research finds.

 The research team looked at 198 studies, which incorporated data from more than 37,000 people. It found that poor mental or physical health, difficulties such as agitation or apathy, and unmet needs are more influential on the quality of life of people with dementia than demographic factors such as gender, education marital status, income or age.

Good relationships with family and friends, being included and involved in social activities, being able to manage everyday activities, and having religious beliefs are also important.

Dr Doug Brown, chief policy and research officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Maintaining a healthy social life and doing things you enjoy is important for everyone’s quality of life. People living with dementia are no exception.”

The full research 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. The study stems from the IDEAL programme, a long-term study of 1550 people with dementia and their family members or friends, which aims to understand and advise on the factors that influence quality of life in dementia.

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