'Going back to school - An opportunity for lifelong learning for people with dementia in Denmark' Ward et al 2018
It is amazing to see more and more evidence emerging supporting intervention to maintain and indeed maybe potentially improve some cognitive skills of those affected by dementia.
Lifelong learning is a concept that is being adapted across many countries with numerous reported benefits, highlighted by the authors, such as supporting well-being, providing resilience to mental health issue, enhancing self-esteem and confidence. We constantly thrive to learn new things and improve ourselves, regardless of our age, and it may be that the way we approach learning in life may slowly shift from 'get all your education in your 20's' to more spread out approach. In my opinion it is never too late to learn something new!
The authors of the paper rightly pointed out that there is 'a need for greater psychological support to enhance cognitive performance, quality of life and the dignity and personhood of those currently living with dementia.'
VUK Voksenskolen For Undervisning og Kommunikation is a place in Denmark where people can access classes that aim to provide:
Most improvements were shown in the following areas:
I would like to share this inspiring story that might help other cares in a similar situation to come together and find the right kind of support! This article depicts just a fraction of issues that gay couples are faced with when the other half is diagnosed with HAND (HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder). This is a story of Mike and Tom published for Living with Dementia Magazine Dec/Jan 2017/2018 publication, shared here with permission:
Two weeks ago I attended an amazing workshop on Music and Speech and Language Therapy and here are some key points I wanted to share with those who are interested in this topic!
- You don't have to be 'musical' to use music to elicit language
- Eliciting language using music can be a window to access more language
- The aim is not to hit a perfect note but to create platform for joined attention, participation, turn-taking and simultaneously work on attention processing, memory or executive functioning
- Music therapy engages cognition, sensorimotor function, speech and communication
- Music provides structure, platform for repetition, it assists recall, provides association with feelings, can be highly motivational and engaging, is predictable and creates anticipation
- Music therapy has been explored and used in swallow rehabilitation in children with brain injuries
Research into communication therapy approaches for people affected by deteriorating condition such as Dementia has been on the slow but steady increase in last few years. Sage Journals have recently published a study showing positive social benefits of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, as perceived by the carers who also received support in groups. This was a small scale study, but hopefully this will give platform to continue with further research into this field. Abstract is available online and the article is titles: 'An evaluation of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy sessions for people with dementia and a concomitant support group for their carers'.