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Proper eating habits improve not only the physical health of dementia patients, but also their mental health. A program designed to help dementia patients remember healthy eating guidelines improved both physical and mental health.
The intervention includes spaced retrieval, a type of memory training that makes a person recall a piece of information at increasing time intervals.
Montessori-based activities are also included. These are structured activities associated with daily life, sequentially and repeatedly practiced.
Patients who received both interventions were less likely to show depressive symptoms six months after going through the program.
The findings are published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, suggesting that doctors should consider using the intervention in people affected by dementia who also have poor nutrition and signs of depression.
Dr. Li-Chan Lin, RN, PhD, from the national Yang-Ming University in Taipei explained:
“It has been shown that spaced retrieval or Montessori-based activities can improve eating ability. In our research, besides improving eating ability, improved nutrition increased body mass index and a moderating effect on depressive symptoms are produced by spaced retrieval combined with Montessori-based activities. We expect that this combined intervention can produce greater effects than spaced retrieval or Montessori-based activities can alone.”
For the 25 patients who received both types of interventions, their nutrition and BMI increased during the course of the six-month study. Scores for depression were lowered along with the nutritional improvements.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Advanced Nursing
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