Do Cross-Generational Interactions Make Any Difference to the Mental Health of Older Adults with Dementia?
A-La Park* BSc, BA, MSc
Personal Social Services Research Unit, LSE Health and Social Care London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, UK
- *Corresponding Author:
- A-La Park
Background: Despite the increasing longevity of older people, there is no completely effective medical treatment for dementia. It is vital to consider ways of preventing the onset of dementia and improving the quality of life of older people with progressive dementias. This aim of the study is to look at the evidence on whether interactions between different age groups in unrelated relationships make any difference to older adults with dementia. Methods: A rapid review was conducted to look at the impacts of cross-generational activities on older people with dementia. To be included, studies should have been published as peer-reviewed articles in English between January 1986 and early 2014. No country restriction was applied. Supplementary searches were performed and a narrative synthesis was reported. Results: Most cross-generational interventions showed beneficial effects on mental health in improving cognitive function, engagement, social health, and in helping to manage negative emotions in terms of stress and agitation. However, mixed results were found in some dimensions of emotional health such as perceived self-worth, purpose in life and depressive symptoms for older adults at early stage of dementia. Conclusion: Potentially, incorporating interactive components between generations into care practice in a personalised way would be an effective option for keeping older adults with dementia as fit as possible mentally by promoting their sense of wellbeing. Future studies embodying non-verbal communication elements for older adults in the advanced stage of dementia would be helpful to promote an atmosphere of togetherness.