DEMENTIA SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS JULIE COLE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST

Evidence

Aromatherapy and Dementia

There are just a few small scale research studies that have explored the use of aromatherapy as treatment for some of the unpleasant symptoms of agitation and distress that some people with dementia experience.   Most notably the use of melissa  (lemon balm)  to ease agitation and the properties of lavender to promote sleep have been…

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The Meaning of Handbags for People with Dementia

I’ve recently read an article by Christina Buse and Julia Twigg from the University of Kent, ‘ Women with dementia and their handbags:  Negotiating identity, privacy and ‘home’ through material culture’.  Although it’s an academic piece of writing it’s expressed in language that’s  easy to understand.  It’s a fascinating study and I’d encourage others to read the original article…

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Make Up and Dementia: Using Cosmetics Therapeutically

Fascinating research has been reported from Japan on the use of cosmetic therapy where participants have been taught how to apply make up.  One academic study indicates that  it might slow down cognitive decline for women with dementia in its early stages.  While this research failed to demonstrate a positive effect for women in the later stages of dementia another project indicates that it could be beneficial.   Residents…

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Prescribing Activity for People with Dementia: Using Occupation as an Addition or an Alternative to Medication

For many illnesses we are used to being given medication to aid recovery or at least to make things better by relieving symptoms.  When someone receives a diagnosis of dementia the current options for prescribing are somewhat limited.  Sadly there are no cures.  Cholinesterase drugs, such as donepezil, which are primarily prescribed for people with…

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The Nun Study

David Snowdon’s Aging with Grace:  What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Living Longer, Healthier and More Meaningful Lives  has been on my reading list for some time now.    So I took it away with me on my travels this summer.  I’ll admit that, on first glance, a book published in 2001 which describes the early…

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Being A Guinea Pig: Getting Involved In Dementia Research

Every so often in my work a person with dementia or perhaps a family member will come up with the name of a new drug that’s still being tested and ask how they can get involved with its trial.  I have to say that the process by which new medication gets approval isn’t as simple as finding…

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The Toolbox

There is an absence of research evidence for many practices that may improve the lives of people with dementia.    When I first began to work in older adult mental health care there was a lot of excitement around the potential that aromatherapy might have for relieving agitation and distress and improving cognition and  mood.  …

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