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Chronic disease management: why dementia care is different.


With the rise in the population of older adults, the number of individuals living with chronic diseases that need management will increase dramatically. Successful programs have been developed for chronic conditions (eg, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that use principles of self-management, monitoring, and care coordination. However, because of the effects of dementia on the mind including behavioral complications, the progressive loss of capacity for affected individuals to participate in care or decision-making, the devastating effects on care partners, and the scope of disease management beyond medical issues, the management of dementia is different and demands different approaches. The success of dementia management will depend upon how well the care provided is able to maximize the function, independence, and dignity of the individual living with dementia while minimizing care partner strain and burnout.

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