A comprehensive approach to reablement in dementia.

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As society grapples with an aging population and increasing prevalence of disability, “reablement” as a means of maximizing functional ability in older people is emerging as a potential strategy to help promote independence. Reablement offers an approach to mitigate the impact of dementia on function and independence. This article presents a comprehensive reablement approach across seven domains for the person living with mild-to-moderate dementia. Domains include assessment and medical management, cognitive disability, physical function, acute injury or illness, assistive technology, supportive care, and caregiver support.

In the absence of a cure or ability to significantly modify the course of the disease, the message for policy makers, practitioners, families, and persons with dementia needs to be “living well with dementia”, with a focus on maintaining function for as long as possible, regaining lost function when there is the potential to do so, and adapting to lost function that cannot be regained. Service delivery and care of persons with dementia must be reoriented such that evidence-based reablement approaches are integrated into routine care across all sectors.

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