A study to be published in the October 2022 edition of Tourism Management presents the thoughts of a cross-disciplinary team of experts in both dementia and tourism. Medical News Today’s recent article entitled “’Travel therapy’ may offer treatment for dementia and benefit mental health” reports that the research hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, but experts think there may be significant benefits of travel for people with dementia, particularly in the areas of mental health and well-being.
Dementia currently has no cure, but some medications and treatments may help control symptoms.
Care is often supportive, including helping those with dementia do as much as they can on their own and helping them have a better quality of life.
Researchers are still working on how to best help those with dementia. One area of interest is how traveling may benefit people with dementia.
The researchers say that the potential benefits of tourism in treating people with dementia are called “travel therapy.” One definition of tourism the researchers used was “visiting places outside one’s everyday environment for no longer than a full year.” They note that the experience of tourism has four main components to it:
- Affective Experience: how it impacts feelings, emotions and mood
- Cognitive Experience: how it affects thoughts and memories
- Conative Experience: how it impacts behavior; and
- Sensorial Experience: how it impacts the senses.
The authors concluded that tourism may have a potentially positive impact on well-being and quality of life through a variety of components. However, the literature supporting this in the treatment of dementia is limited.
The study authors also noted that focusing on components of positive psychology, such as what people can do, positive experiences, and well-being may also benefit people with dementia.
They proposed a few options to implement components of tourism to help people with dementia, such as group travel that promotes social interactions or traveling to locations that stimulate the senses.
Reference: Medical News Today (June 30, 2022) “’Travel therapy’ may offer treatment for dementia and benefit mental health”