What do community-dwelling people with dementia need? A survey of those who are known to care and welfare services

Int Psychogeriatr. 2009 Oct;21(5):949-65. doi: 10.1017/S1041610209990147. Epub 2009 Jul 15.


Background: The aging society will bring an increase in the number of people with dementia living in the community. This will mean a greater demand on care and welfare services to deliver efficient and customized care, which requires a thorough understanding of subjective and objective care needs. This study aims to assess the needs of community-dwelling people with dementia as reported by themselves and by their informal carers. The study also aims to give insight into the service use and gaps between needs and the availability of services.

Methods: 236 community-dwelling people with dementia and 322 informal carers were interviewed separately. (Un)met needs were assessed using the Camberwell Assessment of Needs for the Elderly (CANE).

Results: Most unmet needs were experienced in the domains of memory, information, company, psychological distress and daytime activities. People with dementia reported fewer (unmet) needs than their carers. Type and severity of dementia, living situation and informal carer characteristics were related to the number of reported needs.

Conclusions: This study showed a large number of unmet needs in dementia. Reasons for unmet needs are lack of knowledge about the existing service offer, a threshold to using services and insufficient services offer. These results provide a good starting point for improving community care for people with dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Netherlands
  • Proxy / psychology
  • Proxy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Social Welfare / psychology
  • Social Welfare / statistics & numerical data*