Workshop 5: Improving wellbeing of patients with young onset dementia


Dr Jacqui Hussey (Wokingham Memory Clinic)


People with young onset dementia (YOD) often experience a more rapid decline in cognition and quality of life at a time when they may have expected to be in employment and have an active social life. Lack of appropriate activities may result in social isolation, apathy, a decline in health and increased risk of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Carers of people with YOD also have increased physical health problems, depression, anxiety and social isolation.
As a physical activity, horticultural therapy is considered beneficial to overall health. Activity engagement has been shown to be significantly improved in gardening groups compared to controls. Gardening has been shown to improve neuro-endocrine markers for stress and to improve mood in healthy populations. It has also been shown to have specific beneficial effects on mood in those with the most severe forms of dementia. A reduction in BPSD may lead to reduction in carer stress, both being independent variables which increase the risk of entry into 24 hour care.

Headline question

Can physical exercise reduce psychological and behavioural disturbance in dementia?

Workshop debate

  1. What role can physical activity play in improving well-being in people with YOD?
  2. What is the best model to provide opportunity for exercise?
  3. In 5 years’ time what would success look like in terms of integrating physical activity into patient and carer pathways?
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