Dementia is a term for a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory and other mental skills that can impair one’s ability to carry out simple tasks.
Persons with dementia are often ignored and not adequately engaged in conversations. Previous studies believe that dementia patients are engaged about two minutes daily.
Consequently, the research tested the impact eight minutes of conversation per day would have on people with dementia.
It involved 847 people with dementia in 69 nursing homes in south London, north London, and Buckinghamshire.
Therapists and staff undertook four days of training in ‘person centred care’, which involved talking to residents about their interests and preferences and reflecting these in aspects of their care.
During the nine months trial, the researchers found the increased level of social interaction improved quality of life and reduced agitation and aggression.
The research was conducted under a programme known as Improving Wellbeing and Health for People with Dementia (WHELD).
The team of researchers was led by the University of Exeter, King’s College London, and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Their findings have been published in the journal PLOS Medicine.