Fondation Médéric Alzheimer completes survey on psychosocial and recreational interventions for people with dementia and their carers and their evolution from 2011 to 2019 in French facilities

17/12/2021

Since 2011, the Fondation Médéric Alzheimer has been conducting surveys among all French facilities for people with dementia and carers. These surveys aim to monitor the implementation of the successive national Alzheimer's plans and to provide an overview of the involvement in psychosocial and recreational interventions. For the 2019 survey, 6,070 facilities responded (nursing homes, long-term care units, memory centres, respite care platforms, national carers' support associations) and 82% reported organising at least one intervention.
Interventions for people with dementia were divided into six categories: therapeutic and relational (reminiscence, psychological support…); functional (manual work, cooking…); care and well-being (gentle gymnastics, aromatherapy…); recreational, cultural and sporting (museum visits, games…); rehabilitative (cognitive stimulation, cognitive rehabilitation…); environmental (space management, therapeutic garden). For carers, interventions included public information meetings, discussion groups and dementia cafés, among others. For people with dementia and their carers, interventions included social events, discussion groups, walks, etc.
Interventions tend to develop over time compared to the 2011 and 2017 surveys. Some are more frequently provided: art therapy, music therapy, sensory stimulation, animal mediation, crafts and gardening. Leisure activities and social events are poorly represented. Some interventions are not sufficiently developed and this could be due to lack of knowledge among professionals, a lack of professional training, transport difficulties to access interventions and budgetary choices between interventions, without always assessing the needs of people with dementia and carers.
Several suggestions emerged: strengthening training for staff; raising awareness of interventions among people with dementia and carers; pooling of staff resources across facilities within a defined geographical area to facilitate access to these interventions; and considering dedicated funding for these interventions.
One of the limitations of this survey is that the facilities do not necessarily have the same definition of interventions listed in the questionnaire. However, this survey showed a growing awareness among facilities of the benefits of these interventions.
The results of this survey will be published in French in a letter from the Fondation Médéric Alzheimer in 2022. Recognised as a public utility, the Fondation Médéric Alzheimer works with professionals, prescribers and public authorities to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and carers.