A novel social cognition intervention for older adults with cognitive impairment: Co-design and pilot study
People living with cognitive impairments often experience loneliness and depression. They find it hard not just to remember things, but also talking to others. One person living with dementia said to me: “I worry that other people will laugh at me and say I don’t say things that make sense or I repeat myself. Many older adults with cognitive impairment have difficulties with recognising emotions and reacting in a socially appropriate way. Most treatments developed for dementia focus on improving memory and language. So far, there is no treatment that helps people recover or maintain social skills as their cognitive abilities decline. We want to change that. We will run focus groups with people living with cognitive impairments and their care partners. Together we will write a social skills training manual specifically designed for older adults with cognitive impairments. We will then run a pilot study to test the effectiveness of the social skills training. Our hope is that people living with cognitive impairments can reconnect with others and experience the joy of socialising once again.
Dr Samtani is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) and a Clinical Psychologist