Site Home   Gender and Dementia       Introduction to Gender and Health   The Gender Lens Tool

Non-pharmacological Approaches

  • open communication between patients, families and health care professionals with clear discussion of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options

  • educating and providing support to patients, families and caregivers

  • creating supportive environments with structure and routine, such as day hospitals and respite care, to allow patients to function to their maximum capacity

  • referral to allied health professionals such as occupational therapists to assist patients and families with daily routines and for other cognitive and behavioural strategies; physical therapists to help patients maintain mobility; and social workers to assist patients and families with future planning

  • Luijpen et al (2003) showed that physical activity and tactile stimulation had a positive effect on cognitive functioning and on the patient-caregiver relationship, making this an important non-pharmacological therapy that can be used [9]

  • discussion of the future with respect to issues such as medical directives, institutionalization, power of attorneys, finances etc. needs to occur in the early to mid stages of dementia to allow the patient to take part and express their wishes

Ensuring a safe environment for all seniors



This Virtual Homevisit was created by Dr. Gustavo Duque and the McGill Molson Medical Informatics group, it is used with permission.  The safety issues highlighted in this game are important for all seniors, especially those with cognitive impairment.


The reading material links from the game are not working at the moment. The following links will take you to the documents:


9. Luijpen MW, Scherder EJ, Van Someren EJ, Swaab DF, Sergeant JA. Non-pharmacological interventions in cognitively impaired and demented patients-a comparison with cholinesterase inhibitors. Reviews in Neurosciences 2003; 14(4):343-68.

12. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, USA accessed September 14, 2007

13. Health Canada accessed September 14, 2007

All references for this section