In work package three, we will fill knowledge gaps about whether a properly developed and tested sensory support intervention can improve mental well being in people with dementia (PwD) and their caregivers.
To date, there is a small but convincing literature regarding the application of hearing and visual rehabilitation in older people with sensory impairment (e.g. Wong et al. 2014) but this does not extend to people who have concurrent cognitive impairment, particularly dementia. Dementia significantly impacts on the ability of a person to understand and benefit from rehabiliation or psychosocial approaches, particularly those therapies with a learning element, unless the approaches are significantly adapted. Likewise, the challenges of living with dementia are magnified by sensory impairment, if not corrected or supported.
Here, we will combine our expertise in vision rehabilitation (Himmelsbach,CUF), auditory augmentation (Thodi, EUC) and non-pharmacological approaches for dementia such as cognitive stimulation and cognitive rehabilitation (Leroi, UNIMAN) to develop and test an appropriate therapy for sensory optimisation in PwD, thereby promoting mental well being for them and their caregivers and reducing the negative impact of dementia.