Resources and training needed to enable people with sight loss and dementia to engage in meaningful activity

Metro Blind Sport's 40th Anniversary Athletics Open 2016 - festival Picture: Chris Vaughan/Chris Vaughan Photography Date: June 25, 2016
Metro Blind Sport’s 40th Anniversary Athletics Open 2016 – festival
Chris Vaughan Photography

MORE resources and training are needed to assist families and professionals who enable people with both sight loss and dementia to engage in meaningful activity, according to research released by sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust.


Participating in meaningful activities – ones that people enjoy or value – is important for people’s health and wellbeing. Increasing visual or cognitive impairment can make it more difficult for people to access or participate in different activities without additional support and may lead to withdrawal from them. Providing effective support to enable people to continue engaging in meaningful activity when they have dementia and sight loss can be challenging for family and professional carers.


The Research Discussion Paper ‘Sight loss, dementia and meaningful activity’ presents the findings of a multi-method scoping study led by Alison Dawson from the University of Stirling to open up discussion around meaningful activities for people with dementia and sight loss.


A literature review, interviews with ten expert informants and a survey of people who support individuals with both sight loss and dementia found that most professionals felt that there was little specific literature, resources or training to help people support individuals to engage in activities they value.


Alison Dawson, a Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, commented: “This study is a first step in understanding the challenges faced by people living with both sight loss and dementia and by professionals seeking to support them to engage in activities which are personally meaningful.


“Further research might usefully explore what is needed in terms of content, how training could best be delivered, and what more can be done to raise awareness when specific training or resources become available,” she said.


Lynn Watson, Head of Research at Thomas Pocklington Trust, commented: “Sight loss often gets overlooked in people who have dementia. We’re delighted to be highlighting the importance of meaningful activity for people who have both dementia and sight loss.”


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