Background: Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that gradually causes serious cognitive, motor, and functional impairments in affected individuals. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a meaningful task-oriented intervention on independence in activities of daily living, cognitive status, and physical abilities (including gait speed and balance) in elderly patients with mild to moderate dementia.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 40 participants aged 60-70 years who had a Functional Assessment Staging Tool (FAST Scale) score of 1-5. Participants were assigned randomly to either a control group (n=20) that received standard care (i.e., medication and routine consultation) or an intervention group (n=20) that received standard care plus eight 45–60-minute sessions of task-oriented interventions based on familiar daily life activities in the home environment, conducted twice a week. The primary outcome was independence in activities of daily living, which was assessed using the Barthel Index. Secondary outcomes included cognitive function (measured with the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-Revised) and physical performance (measured with the Timed Up and Go test, 10 Meter Walk Test, and Berg Balance Scale).
Results: The meaningful task-oriented intervention was associated with significant improvements in independence in activities of daily living (p<0.01) compared to the control group, as well as in cognitive function and physical performance (including balance, lower limb strength, and walking speed) (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Meaningful task-oriented interventions that incorporate familiar activities in the home environment can help elderly patients with dementia to maintain their routine skills and preserve independence.