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Music, Hand Massage, Exercise All Helpful for Dementia

20 Feb

Researchers at Leeds Institute of Health Sciences in the UK reviewed non-drug treatments for dementia to provide suggestions for informal (nonprofessional) caregivers looking for non-drug approaches for dementia that they might try.   

The systematic review looked at which non-drug treatments work (and for what) and which are ineffective.

Thirty-three reviews were identified, 25 of which were judged to be of high or good quality. Studies within these systematic reviews were characterized by weak study designs with small sample numbers. Nonetheless, three interventions were found to be effective for use with particular symptoms of dementia: music or music therapy, hand massage or gentle touch; and physical activity and exercise.

The investigators conclude that while informal caregivers can apply some of these interventions in the home setting at little or no cost, others may require training or instruction.  They suggest that service providers should explore providing more structured group activities for people with dementia; in particular group music therapy and group exercise activities that meet the needs of both the person with dementia and their caregiver.

Citation: Hulme C, Wright J, Crocker T, Oluboyede Y, House A. Non-pharmacological approaches for dementia that informal carers might try or access: a systematic review. Intl. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2010 Jul;25(7):756-63. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award