People with dementia lose their abilities to perform psychomotor tasks, such as activities of daily living, when they do not use them. This loss results in lowered self-esteem and a reduced sense of control over self and personal space. We propose to develop a new tool for teaching caregivers about preserving functional ability during dressing. This tool includes a unique simulator that enables the caregiver to practice his or her dressing assistance skills by helping a virtual man who has moderate dementia get dressed. During this project, we will develop a prototype of this simulator as part of a complete Internet-based training program. We will test the efficacy of our training program in two nursing homes with twelve caregivers.
Caregivers play an important role in maintaining independence and preserving the functional ability of people with dementia. Effective caregiver training on strategies that support independence improves quality of life for people with dementia and may delay their move to long-term care facilities.