Treating patients with dementia has a fair share of approaches and many that relate to the way other interact with them. Some methods include social interactions, creative simulations, and, as a last resort, antipsychotic medications.

A UK study has shown that patients with dementia can improve their lives and save money from just one social hour a week. The study presented that quality of life in patients who suffer from dementia and a reduction in agitation was the outcome of one hour session a week of person-centered social activities.

Social Interactions and Dementia

To train staff for this approach, “care staff champions” were given 4 day-long sessions where they were instructed how and what measures to take with the residents. This included simple steps such as talking about their interests and decisions. The motive of this approach is to get to know the residents personally and as individuals.

The trial was conducted to over 800 residents who suffer from dementia living in care homes all across South London, North London, and Buckinghamshire.

Almost 75% of the participants were reluctant to achieve de-prescription of antipsychotic medication after 6 months of training nurses. The nurses played the role of managing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

As a result of the trial, it was shown that an intervention such as this trial could also save money for those residents or family members.

In an interview, Dr Jane Fossey, from the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said, "Knowing their interests and talking with them while you provide all aspects of care. It can make a massive difference to the person themselves and their carers.”

The findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2017.