It is now widely accepted that many people with dementia can report in a consistent and valid way on their quality of life. This review aims to identify modifiable factors associated with quality of life in people with dementia, which can then form the basis for interventions enhancing quality of life.
The review draws together findings in dementia care on interventions with those on quality of life.
Cognitive function is not associated with quality of life in people with dementia, although paradoxically, some cognition‐focused approaches do appear to lead to improvements in quality of life. Depression is most consistently associated with lower quality of life. Also important are quality of relationships with carers, staff attitudes, family involvement and avoidance of use of anti‐psychotic medication. Potentially effective interventions are available in relation to each of these factors.
Hope regarding what can be achieved with people with dementia is the attitude most associated with quality of life. This goes beyond person‐centred care values, and emphasises the potential for making a difference that is of value.
Achieving social inclusion for people with dementia requires the development of dementia supportive communities, allowing and supporting people with dementia to take part in a wider range of valued activities and roles.
The sense that “nothing can be done” remains prevalent in relation to dementia. This review challenges this assumption, and indicates how living well with dementia can become a reality, not simply an aspiration.
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