Dementia patients living in long-term care often have very low levels of activity, and this strongly contributes to a low quality of life, according to a new large-scale national study by the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre and Griffith University in Australia.

The findings also show that family members and staff tend to be pessimistic regarding the capabilities of dementia patients to become engaged in meaningful activities.

The study involved 53 residential aged care facilities in Australia. The researchers measured the participation levels across 15 leisure activities for residents with dementia (five items indoors and 10 items outdoors). For the 191 residents who were able to rate their own activity, the average score was 11.4 out of 30, with zero being the lowest participation rate and 30 being the highest.

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