Dementia and Well-Being: Possibilities and Challenges

By Ailsa Cook | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Promoting Health
If health and social care policy makers are to deliver on their commitment to improve well-being for people with dementia, it is vital that they start by ensuring the health of people with dementia. As the discussion of well-being in Chapter 1 highlighted, health by itself does not constitute well-being, rather, good health can be conceptualised as the foundation stone on which well-being is built and as a resource that enables individuals to engage in the activities and relationships that do bring well-being. This analysis is supported by research with people with dementia living in a residential care home. It was found that experiences of pain and disability could have a pervasive impact on an individual’s well-being (Cook, 2003). Videorecorded observations of interactions between residents revealed that the older residents’ experiences of frailty and physical disability limited not only what they could do every day, but also their perception of what they could achieve, leading many of the older residents to restrict their activities more than was necessary. For example, residents bemoaned the fact that they could no longer walk outside or go to the local shops, activities that other residents were given support to engage in. Furthermore, micro-level analysis of the interactions of the residents with dementia showed that their experiences of pain also impacted on their ability to communicate and engage in activities, with residents being less communicative and engaged when they were displaying non-verbal markers of pain. These findings are supported by a survey of older people with dementia living in residential care in Australia who reported that their quality of life decreased along with their ability to self-care (Moyle et al., 2007).The relationship between health and dementia is complex and there are four main ways in which having dementia can impact on an individual’s health.
1. The cognitive impairments associated with dementia can make engaging in the activities of everyday living that sustain good health more difficult. Thus many people with dementia struggle with cooking, cleaning and ensuring that they have fresh food in the home; they may also be prevented from cooking for fear that they will leave appliances on (Marshall, 1997). Taking exercise can also be a significant problem for people with dementia who may get lost when out of the house and

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Dementia and Well-Being: Possibilities and Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care iii
  • Title Page iv
  • Contents vi
  • Series Editors’ Introduction vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Glossary of Abbreviations ix
  • Preface x
  • Chapter 1 - Definitions and Context 1
  • Chapter 2 - Promoting Health 18
  • Chapter 3 - Promoting Independence 35
  • Chapter 4 - Promoting Choice and Control 49
  • Chapter 5 - Social Inclusion 60
  • Chapter 6 - Conclusions and Recommendations 71
  • References 77
  • Index 86
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