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Informal Carers (including family, friends)

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This topic focuses on the common benefits between people with dementia and their carers during and after the implementation of CST.

Learning outcomes

After completing the module, you will find out:

  • The CST benefits to the person and their carers.


Dementia not only imposes a significant impact on the life of the person experiencing dementia but also on those involved in their care. CST can be a useful tool for both carers and people with dementia. Studies in the UK and worldwide have shown that during CST both people with dementia and family or friends’ carers valued mental stimulation and engaged in meaningful activities which helped them keep in touch and experience better the world that surrounds them [1].

3.6.1 Well-being

Taking part in CST motivates people with dementia to keep their mind active and look for more mental stimulation-related information. More precisely, the results of studies show that this treatment enhances memory, language, concentration, problem-solving, verbal fluency, as well as the well-being of people with dementia. Their carers also experience improved communication and interaction with the person they care for, while maintaining their quality of life and psychological well-being.

So far, the dominant model for caregiving assumes that the onset and progression of chronic illness and physical disability are stressful for both the person with dementia and the family caregiver. Therefore, it is expected that by increasing the person with dementia’s cognitive abilities and well-being through CST, will also lead to an improvement in the family caregivers’ mood and well-being.

Mainly, the home-based cognitive stimulation intervention (iCST) which requires family caregivers to deliver the therapy has shown to also improve the caregivers’ well-being. Since iCST significantly improves the caregiving relationship quality and carer well-being, the program might be a useful part of custom-tailored home care packages, which can help to keep people with dementia in their own homes for longer. This has also the potential to prolong carers’ ability to provide care for the person with dementia as well as contribute to the cost-effectiveness of dementia care [2].

3.6.2 Communication

As the language improves during CST, communication, and social interaction between the person living with dementia and people around him/her will subsequently improve as well. Improvement in the communication of thoughts and feelings could also show a change in the QoL and in cognitive functions. People with dementia and family carers valued CST sessions as a tool that enabled them to initiate conversations and provided a framework for communication. It provides an opportunity for both to spend quality time together, helps the communication and enhances the carers’ health-related QoL and mood [3].


Key points:

  • Studies have shown that involving carers in cognitive stimulation interventions for the person they care for can have positive benefits for both.
  • CST improves the well-being, and the communication of people with dementia as well as their carers.

1. List of references

  1. Leung, P. (2019). People’s experiences of cognitive stimulation therapy. A qualitative understanding. In: Yates, A., YatesJ., Orrell M., et al (editors). Cognitive stimulation therapy for dementia: history, evolution, and internationalism. 1st edition. Oxford: Routledge.
  2. Aguirre, E., Hoare, Z., Spector, A., Woods, R., Orrell, M. (2014). The effects of a Cognitive Stimulation Therapy [CST] program for people with dementia on family caregivers’ health.
  3. T., Shazli, G., Ponnusamy, S. (2016). The acceptability and usefulness of CST for older adults with dementia: a narrative review. International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

2. Further reading