Social groups are vital for empowering people with early-onset dementia, claims new research.
Attending social and recreational clubs when you have dementia, particularly early-onset, can help you feel more empowered, according to researchers by the University of British Columbia in Canada.
The study focused on an independently run social club which offered recreational activities three days a week for people in their mid-40s to 60s. Activities included morning coffee, chair yoga, dance, lunch, and a walk in the local neighbourhood.
‘By observing and talking to the members, we found that walking in the neighbourhood and interacting with others kept them connected to the community,’ says Professor Alison Phinney, who led the research. ‘They felt that they still belonged – something that wouldn’t have been possible had they stayed at home.
‘Young-onset dementia is incredibly challenging because they’re still fairly active and healthy and suddenly they’re no longer able to work. Being part of the club keeps them busy and healthy and gives their family respite, making it more feasible for members to stay at home longer.’
Professor Phinney’s research was funded by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.