Filling in memory gaps through emotional communication; promising pathways in caring for persons with dementia
SourcePatient Education and Counseling, 100, 11, (2017), pp. 2121-2124
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Patient Education and Counseling
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: To explore in what way emotional communication can enhance the memory of people with (different types of) dementia. METHODS: Relevant studies published after 2000 were searched using the terms: dementia, positive, words, communication, recall, and memory. Papers were included that reported results of studies with people with dementia that investigated memory effects of communication with either an emotionally valent content or context. RESULTS: Twelve papers grouped under four prevailing themes (pictures, facial emotions, stories and words) are described. The studies provide mixed results: in some studies negative emotional information enhances memory in older people with dementia, in other studies positive emotional information is helpful or hardly any effect is found. CONCLUSION: Emotional communication seems to enhance memory in people with dementia. None of the studies described focused on the association between personally relevant, emotionally valent information and memory, so further research is needed. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Caregivers in dementia care should realize that 1) the information they provide might carry an emotional valence, and 2) this valence might influence the extent to which people with dementia remember information.
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