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PL4: Innovation and care

Detailed programme, abstracts and presentations

PL4: Innovation and care

PL4.1 Meeting the needs of people with intellectual disability and dementia


A serious challenge today in Ireland and elsewhere is the growing number of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and dementia. Reliance on past care practices is inadequate and general population responses are not sufficient. New data driven and evidence-based models are needed.

Method: Data was gathered from three sources – (1) 77 women with Down syndrome aged 35 years and older followed longitudinally with incident diagnoses of dementia established using the modified ICD 10 Criteria. (2) strategic planning data at one comprehensive services provider addressing changing demographics, ageing of persons with Down syndrome, challenges to current service models, residential and day programs, and skill issues for staff. (3)  The Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA), a large-scale, nationally representative study of people aged 40 years and over with an ID.

Findings: Among the critical findings were 1) In longitudinal follow-up of 77 women with Down syndrome, over 80% are now presenting with symptoms of dementia, average age of dementia diagnosis was 55.4 years (SD = 7.14) and median survival, 7 years after diagnosis. 2) total engagement of staff, families and people with ID, consideration of five and 10 year potential for dementia, willingness to modify every service environment and commitment to training for all staff are critical components to a successful system wide dementia strategy and 3) Prevalence of dementia in persons with Down syndrome doubled from 15.9% to 29.5% over the 3 year period from IDS-TILDA Wave 1 to Wave 11. Tracking incidence of dementia and the impact of responses are possible using longitudinal datasets such as IDS-TILDA.        

Conclusion: The confirmed high risk levels for dementia among people with Down syndrome and for people with other types of ID seriously challenge services and services providers but data is emerging on responsive strategies demonstrated to work. 

PL4.2 Dementia, ethics and technology

TOPO Päivi

As part of our everyday activities, technology influences our way of thinking and understanding the world. Thus, it is worthwhile to examine how technology shapes our idea of what it means to live with dementia and how readily the benefits of technological development are accessible to people with dementia, their close ones and professional carers. This presentation has three aims: 1. to summarise the technological solutions available to people with dementia, their close ones and carers, 2. to review the methodological approach used in the research designed to evaluate the value of such solutions, 3. to discuss how some crucial ethical issues concerning technology and dementia could be tackled. The presentation is based on a literature review, interviews with spouses of people with advanced dementia and analyses of newspaper texts on dementia and technology.

PL4.3 Managing and preventing behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia

ZALAR Bojan, ŠTRUKELJ Katarina Barbara

Numerous and diverse symptoms occurring as consequence of changes in cognitive functions and memory loss can be described by the descriptive term dementia; the dementia phenomena make normal life impossible. Though tending to be terminologically equivalent and correlating with functional decline, there are, however, also other symptoms not caused by the decline of cognitive processes, which accompany dementia. Cognitive dysfunctions are increasing progressive, behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) tend to fluctuate, psychomotor agitation occurring frequently. Behavioural and psychological phenomena symptoms in dementia are demonstrated in delusions and hallucinations, irritability, disinhibition, agitation, anxiety, apathy, depression, aberrant motor behaviour. Sleeping and appetite disorders are also present. It is usually the BPSD phenomena which lead to the diagnosis of dementia. Study of dementia is extremely comprehensive and including neuropathologycal, neurochemical, genetic, phenotypical, molecular-biological, psychological, sociological, and social factors. Prevention and treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia requires new insights and approaches in the entire scope of dementia.

PL4.4 The last taboo: Dementia, sexuality and intimacy


Intimacy and sexuality are basic human needs that are intrinsic to people’s sense of self and wellbeing. Regardless of age, individuals require companionship, intimacy and love and yet for older people this intrinsic right is often denied, ignored or stigmatised. For older people with dementia the problem is even worse: they face the ‘double jeopardy’ of being old and cognitively impaired.

Experiencing intimacy is vital for the quality of life of people with dementia. This may include sexual behaviour as well. A number of good practices will be presented and discussed.



Last Updated: Monday 28 September 2015


  • Acknowledgements

    The 25th AE Conference in Ljubljana received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). Alzheimer Europe and Spominčica gratefully acknowledge the support of all conference sponsors.
  • European Union
  • Roche
  • SCA Global Hygiene