Dementia is a mental condition that doesn’t only steal one's memory, but also affects a person's physical and psychological well-being. However, a new study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing and posted at suggests that giving dementia patients a meal plan along with dietary education may not only improve their physical health, but their mental health as well.

Study author Dr. Li-Chan Lin from the National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan worked with participants who were given different forms of intervention. A group of 27 individuals was also included to serve as control, receiving only standard medical care.

The two types of intervention methods were “spaced retrieval” and “Montessori-based activities.” The former concentrated on memory training that made people recall information at different and increasing intervals, while the latter focused on simple sequentially repeated activities that were done every day. 25 subjects were given these intervention methods in 24 fixed group sessions, while 38 volunteers were given the same interventions thatwere more tailored to each person’s learning responses.

Before and after each session, the participants were tested for depression, nutrition, and body mass index (BMI). The same tests were administered after six months. Results showed that patients who received the two interventions improved their nutrition and BMI scores. Those under the tailored interventions also had lower depression scores.

Dementia can strike anybody, no matter what age group. As those afflicted by it can forget themselves and how to take care of themselves, it is important for family members to be supportive, as well as to always ensure that patients get their proper nutrition. The little things that people can do to support treatment can go a long way.

(Photo by Kelly Bailey via Flickr Creative Commons)

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