Chronic diseases are thought to be one of the most significant health challenges in the 21st century (Dorland & McColl, 2006). Self-management of chronic disease is becoming more common as an approach to chronic disease prevention and management. However, self-management has typically been focused on chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.
While dementia typically has not been labelled a chronic disease, it has all the characteristics of a chronic disease in that it is progressive and there currently is no cure or treatment, only alleviation of symptoms.
One of the most pressing issues is the need for self-management approaches to dementia (Mountain, 2006).
“The commonly held view that people with dementia cannot learn new skills and therefore any intervention will at best fail and at worst have an adverse effect upon the person and their carer, is now being challenged” (Mountain, 2006, p. 434).
Self-management is a beneficial strategy in responding to the increasing incidence and prevalence of dementia, and also in helping people with dementia and their family in retaining control over their lives.
The Alzheimer Knowledge Exchange has a section dedicated to self-management and dementia including research projects updates and tracking forms.