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Early Intervention Coordinator

NEIL has collaborated with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in the appointment of an Early Intervention Coordinator. The purpose of this collaboration is to research, develop and deliver a system of interventions that are responsive to the needs of people with early-stage dementia. This work will be carried out by Dr. Michelle Kelly under the direction of Dr. Sabina Brennan and the rest of the NEIL team, working directly with the Alzheimer Society and with people living with dementia and their families.

The benefits of early interventions

Early interventions can assist people in adjusting to the physical and psychological difficulties associated with a diagnosis and help to empower and promote independence for more positive future outcomes. People with early stage dementia have many retained abilities, so offering support at the earlier stages increases the possibility of maintaining functioning, delaying symptom progression, preventing 'excess' disability and enabling people to live well.

Examples of early interventions

Early interventions can include:

  1. Interventions which aim to improve cognitive functioning, quality of life and delay progression of symptoms;
  2. Providing information and emotional support to the person with dementia;
  3. Education and support for caregivers.
  • The World Alzheimer Report 2011 found that interventions such as Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and Cognitive Rehabilitation can produce improvements in cognitive function, improve quality of life and reduce disability in people with dementia. Interventions incorporating physical activity have also been beneficial for improving activities of daily living, mobility, and endurance. Exercise has also been found to help prevent falls.
  • Early stage dementia support group and socialisation programs have been shown to produce significantly improved quality of life and reduced depressive symptoms. This is important as depression affects up to 85% of people living with dementia.
  • Caregiver education, training and support have been found to be particularly effective in delaying or avoiding the institutionalisation of people with dementia (up to 40% reduction). Caregiver interventions started earlier in the disease course have been found to be especially effective.

What else can help?

These general guidelines have also been found to be helpful for those living with dementia - particularly in the earlier stages:

  • Eat well - a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish and wholemeal.
  • Sleep well - relax and reduce stress.
  • Socialise - stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Reminders - keep a notepad by the phone, use daily pill boxes, sticky notes, electronic reminders or assistive technology devices.
  • Cut down or quit smoking, and moderate alcohol intake.

Get in touch!

We would like to speak to people living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias in the earlier stages. If you are interested, or would like to hear more about our Early Intervention Coordinator, please email kellym50@tcd.ie or call (01) 8964505.

 


Email: neil@tcd.ie
Last updated 6 September 2013

Enhance / Enable / Educate / Empower