To investigate the effect of self-management group rehabilitation for persons with dementia (PwD) and their spouses on their health-related quality of life (HRQoL), the cognition of the PwD, and the costs of health and social services.
A randomized controlled trial.
Primary care and memory clinics in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland.
PwD (N = 136) and their spouses (N = 136).
Couples were randomized to usual care or eight-session self-management groups for PwD and concurrently for their spouses. Sessions aim to enhance self-efficacy and problem-solving skills and to provide peer support.
The primary outcome measures were the HRQoL of PwD (measured using a generic, comprehensive (15-dimensional), self-administered instrument (15D)) and spouses (measured using the RAND-36) and the spousal Sense of Competence Questionnaire (SCQ). Secondary outcome measures were PwD cognition (Verbal Fluency (VF), Clock Drawing Test (CDT)) and costs of health and social services during 24 months.
At 3 months, the spouse physical component of the RAND-36 improved (mean change 1.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.5 to 2.4) for those undergoing the intervention and worsened for controls (mean change -2.0, 95% CI = -3.5 to -0.4) (P = .006 adjusted for age, sex, baseline value of the physical component of the RAND-36). There were no differences between the groups on the mental component of the RAND-36, the SCQ, or the 15D. At 9 months, PwD change in VF was -0.38 (95% CI = -1.03 to 0.27) in intervention group and -1.60 (95% CI = -2.26 to -0.94) for controls (P = .011 adjusted for age, sex, baseline MMSE score). CDT changes were similar to VF changes. Differences in incremental costs between the groups was -436 € per person per year (95% CI = -4,986 to 4,115) for PwD (P = .35 adjusted for age, CDR) and -896 € per person per year (95% CI = -3,657 to 1,864) for spouses (P = .51 adjusted for PwD age, CDR).
The intervention had beneficial effects on the HRQoL of spouses and the cognitive function of PwD without increasing total costs.
Few rigorous clinical trials have investigated the effectiveness of exercise on the physical functioning of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD).
To investigate the effects of intense and long-term exercise on the physical functioning and mobility of home-dwelling patients with AD and to explore its effects on the use and costs of health and social services.
A randomized controlled trial.
A total of 210 home-dwelling patients with AD living with their spousal caregiver.
The 3 trial arms included (1) group-based exercise (GE; 4-hour sessions with approximately 1-hour training) and (2) tailored home-based exercise (HE; 1-hour training), both twice a week for 1 year, and (3) a control group (CG) receiving the usual community care.
The Functional Independence Measure (FIM), the Short Physical Performance Battery, and information on the use and costs of social and health care services.
All groups deteriorated in functioning during the year after randomization, but deterioration was significantly faster in the CG than in the HE or GE group at 6 (P = .003) and 12 (P = .015) months. The FIM changes at 12 months were -7.1 (95% CI, -3.7 to -10.5), -10.3 (95% CI, -6.7 to -13.9), and -14.4 (95% CI, -10.9 to -18.0) in the HE group, GE group, and CG, respectively. The HE and GE groups had significantly fewer falls than the CG during the follow-up year. The total costs of health and social services for the HE patient-caregiver dyads (in US dollars per dyad per year) were $25,112 (95% CI, $17,642 to $32,581) (P = .13 for comparison with the CG), $22,066 in the GE group ($15,931 to $28,199; P = .03 vs CG), and $34,121 ($24,559 to $43,681) in the CG.
An intensive and long-term exercise program had beneficial effects on the physical functioning of patients with AD without increasing the total costs of health and social services or causing any significant adverse effects.
anzctr.org.au Identifier: ACTRN12608000037303.
Comment In: Ann Intern Med. 2013 Aug 20;159(4):JC1024026274
Comment In: MMW Fortschr Med. 2013 Nov 7;155(19):3224475662
Comment In: JAMA Intern Med. 2013 May 27;173(10):901-223588877
Emotional loneliness and social isolation are major problems in old age. These concepts are interrelated and often used interchangeably, but few studies have investigated them simultaneously thus trying to clarify their relationship.
To describe the prevalence of loneliness among aged Finns and to study the relationship of loneliness with the frequency of social contacts, with older people's expectations and satisfaction of their human relationships. Especially, we wanted to clarify whether emotional loneliness is a separate concept from social isolation.
The data were collected with a postal questionnaire. Background information, feelings of loneliness, number of friends, frequency of contacts with children, grandchildren and friends, the expectations of frequency of contacts as well as satisfaction of the contacts were inquired. The questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 6,786 aged people (>74 years) in various urban and rural areas in Finland. We report here the results of community-dwelling respondents (n = 4,113).
More than one third of the respondents (39.4%) suffered from loneliness. Feeling of loneliness was not associated with the frequency of contacts with children and friends but rather with expectations and satisfaction of these contacts. The most powerful predictors of loneliness were living alone, depression, experienced poor understanding by the nearest, and unfulfilled expectations of contacts with friends.
Our findings support the view that emotional loneliness is a separate concept from social isolation. This has implications for practice. Interventions aiming at relieving loneliness should be focused on enabling an individual to reflect her own expectations and inner feelings of loneliness.