US expert talks up holistic dementia care

Professor Constantine Lyketsos says people with dementia need medical, psychological and emotional support.

A leading US expert on dementia has highlighted the importance of a broad approach to dementia care.

Professor Constantine Lyketsos from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said people with dementia require medical, psychological and emotional support.

He told the National Press Club in Canberra that research in the USA demonstrated that people with dementia who received tailored dementia care had better health and lived in the community for longer.

“The main message is that while we cannot cure dementia we can clearly care for it effectively,” Professor Lyketsos said.

“It is essential that these effective treatments be delivered early, at home, and comprehensively.”

Professor Lyketsos said effective dementia care included supervision to help with daily activities, such as grooming and dressing, and stimulating activities.

He also drew attention to the important role played by carers, saying they required systematic support.

“While they need comfort, they especially need education about dementia and its progression,” he said.

“Caring for a person with dementia requires specific skills in providing activities, overseeing medication, managing crises, and handling problem behaviours, all of which require availability and input from dementia care professionals.

He added that dementia carers rely on respite and need opportunities to maintain their personal networks.

Tags: activities, carers, dementia,

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