Millions of people live with dementia. These people and their families experience a host of challenges on a daily basis, but those who have a care plan in place can make this incredibly difficult time a little easier for everyone.
In a review of dozens of studies examining the priorities and preferences of people living with dementia, certain trends emerged that can help shape programs for treatment, care and support. It can also help you and your loved ones design an effective care plan.
Trends in dementia patient preferences and priorities
According to the studies, people with dementia showed a distinct preference for:
- Being informed as soon as possible about their condition
- Not being a burden on loved ones
- Being an involved participant in creating everyday life routines
- Having autonomy as much as possible
It is worth noting that the studies also revealed that patients’ end-of-life care decisions were often incongruous to their loved ones’. In other words, what they want in terms of CPR or tube feeding is often different than what their families would choose.
The studies also showed that many people with dementia prefer to:
- Receive an official diagnosis and in the presence of a loved one
- Choose where they receive care
- Make funeral plans to ensure their loved ones are not saddled with the emotional or financial burden of doing so
- Make decisions regarding nutrition and active lifestyles
- Engage in meaningful activities as long as possible
Specific preferences and priorities are certainly different for every person. However, these studies show there are some trends that are seen across larger populations of people with dementia.
How this data can help
Having a better understanding of what most patients with dementia want and do not want can play a critical role in developing treatment plans and improving the patient’s quality of life.
This data can also show how valuable it can be to take the time to create a comprehensive care plan with the help of legal and medical professionals. Doing so can ensure a person’s wishes are made in a legally enforceable document and are a true reflection of what they want in terms of end-of-life care, financial planning and final arrangements.