Reducing Risk Factors Can Help Maintain Independence

Maintaining an independent daily life is of the key issues for Alzheimer’s disease patients and their families. An individual who can perform the activities of daily living, such as eating, taking a shower, making meals and using the toilet usually does not need round-the-clock assistance.

A new study, “Dementia and dependence: Do modifiable risk factors delay disability?” in the medical journal Neurology indicates that modifying some risk factors may help to preserve functional independence among individuals at high risk of dementia.

The authors concluded that loss of independence is more likely occur among individuals who smoke, drink and have a low income, regardless of the level of cognitive impairment. Reducing these risk factors may improve functional outcomes and delay institutionalization, according to the authors.

Dementia and dependence: Do modifiable risk factors delay disability? Neurology, April 29, 2014 82:1543-1550; published ahead of print March 28, 2014 [article (subscription required)]