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Importance of meaningful activity emphasised by new research

Research opens discussion about the support required of people with sight loss and dementia

Visually impaired senior

More resources and training is required to support people with sight loss and dementia to engage in “meaningful activity,” according to research released by the Thomas Pocklington Trust last week (26 October).

The charity believes that participating in meaningful activities, which it describes as activities that people enjoy or value, are important for people’s health and wellbeing. Increasing visual and cognitive impairment can make it more difficult for people to access or participate in different activities without additional help, yet providing effective support to enable people to continue engaging in meaningful activity when they have dementia and sight loss can be challenging for family and professional carers, the Thomas Pocklington Trust emphasises.

The paper released by the charity, entitled Sight loss, dementia and meaningful activity, explores the findings of a study by University of Stirling research fellow, Alison Dawson.

Ms Dawson’s study, which was designed to open up discussion around this topic, included a literature review, interviews with 10 experts and a survey of people who support individuals with both sight loss and dementia.

Many professionals felt that there was little specific literature, resources or training to help those in need engage in activities they value, the study found.

Commenting on the research, Ms Dawson explained: “This study is a first step in understanding the challenges faced by people living with both sight loss and dementia, and by professionals seeking to support them to engage in activities which are personally meaningful.”

However, she feels that further research is required to “usefully explore what is needed in terms of content, how training could best be delivered, and what more can be done to raise awareness when specific training or resources become available.”

Image credit: Ryan Seyeau/Flickr