Living with dementia can be a challenging experience, both for those diagnosed and their loved ones. To support the best possible quality of life, setting SMART goals can provide structure and clarity to the journey.
The SMART technique will help caregivers and healthcare providers create achievable and measurable goals to benefit the patient’s overall quality of life. They will better understand how to support dementia patients.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) framework will encourage you to develop practical goals for dementia patients.
For more clarity, here is what each SMART component means:
When dealing with dementia patients, having detailed goals is instrumental to success. Without a plan of action that outlines what you want to achieve, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Recognize that creating specific goals will give all parties involved hope that positive results are possible, even if progress is slow or unsteady at times.
The journey of managing dementia can be a complex and frustrating one. Still, patients must ensure their goals are measurable to increase the likelihood of success. Without this criterion, progress may feel stagnant and aimless.
Whether it’s being able to walk around the block or devote more time towards leisure activities, having measurable goals allows individuals living with dementia to make strides towards bettering their quality of life.
Dementia can bring about various challenges that can make reaching a goal difficult. That doesn’t mean those with dementia should not strive towards something—quite the opposite: setting realistic goals helps the patient stay engaged and maintain their sense of purpose.
Are you feeling unmotivated and unable to push through difficulties? It may be time to revisit the goals you’ve set for yourself and make sure they are relevant. Developing relevant goals will spark motivation, giving you the boost of energy needed to move forward in achieving your dreams.
The road to success isn’t easy and is not a sprint. It’s more like a marathon. To ensure you don’t get lost in the middle of the track, map out your plan and create a timeline that will keep you accountable.
Consider any outside factors, such as new initiatives or changes that may affect your timeline, so that it can be adjusted accordingly. This way, when tasks are pushed back, there won’t be any surprises down the line.
12 SMART Goals Examples for Dementia Patients
Let’s take a look at 12 examples of SMART goals for dementia patients:
1. Increase Independence
“In 6 months, I’ll create an activity plan that will help dementia patients feel more independent and be financially self-sufficient. This will include personal finance management, basic computer literacy, and understanding safety protocols.”
Specific: You will create an activity plan to help dementia patients become more independent.
Measurable: You can actively monitor the progress of the activity plan.
Attainable: The timeline of 6 months is definitely achievable and realistic.
Relevant: Increasing the independence of dementia patients is an appropriate goal.
Time-based: The statement must be completed within 6 months.
2. Reduce Anxiety
“I’ll create a plan to reduce anxiety and depression in dementia patients by the end of 8 months. That involves regular exercise, social activities, and emotional support from family members or caregivers. I hope to improve the quality of life for those with dementia.”
Specific: This explicit goal outlines a plan and timeline to reduce anxiety in dementia patients.
Measurable: You could track the number of patients who improve anxiety levels.
Attainable: The goal is feasible because it involves achievable lifestyle changes.
Relevant: This may elevate the quality of life for those with dementia.
Time-based: There is an 8-month time frame for meeting this particular goal.
3. Improve Nutrition
“I will create and promote a nutrition program for the elderly with dementia by the end of 5 months. This program should include meal plans, shopping tips, eating out suggestions, and tailored recipes to meet their needs.”
Specific: You want to create and promote a nutrition program for the elderly with dementia.
Measurable: Ensure the program includes shopping tips, tailored recipes, etc.
Attainable: This is a reachable goal because the person will implement a well-thought-out program.
Relevant: Proper nutrition keeps the body healthy, which is vital for those with dementia.
Time-based: You have 5 months to improve nutrition for dementia patients.
4. Enhance Mobility
“I want to help dementia patients stay mobile, so I’ll create a plan that outlines how we can encourage physical activity and regular exercise over the one year ahead. I’ll assess the current situation, identify barriers to mobility, and create a plan that outlines how we can overcome them.”
Specific: This goal focuses on creating a plan, identifying barriers to mobility, and finding ways to help patients stay mobile.
Measurable: Make sure you proactively develop a plan to encourage physical activity.
Attainable: This goal is in line with helping dementia patients stay mobile.
Relevant: Physical activity helps those experiencing cognitive decline, so this is an applicable goal for dementia patients.
Time-based: There should be a one-year timeline for this certain goal.
5. Maintain Social Connections
“Within 10 months, I will proactively reach out and make contact with at least one dementia patient every week to help them stay socially connected and maintain meaningful relationships. I want to ensure every patient is supported and connected in their community.”
Specific: You’ll reach out and make contact with at least one dementia patient every week.
Measurable: Count the number of patients you reach out to every week.
Attainable: You are given 10 months to proactively reach out and make contact with at least one dementia patient each week.
Relevant: This is crucial for maintaining social connections and helping patients engage in meaningful relationships.
Time-based: Ten whole months is required for goal attainment.
6. Develop Meaningful Activity
“I will develop four meaningful activity plans for dementia patients in one month. These activities should involve fun and engaging experiences to improve their overall well-being and quality of life. I’ll also seek feedback from patients and their families on how the activities can be improved or modified to suit their needs better.”
Specific: The SMART goal is implementing four meaningful activities for dementia patients.
Measurable: You can measure success by seeking feedback from patients and their families.
Attainable: This is achievable if the person takes the time to research meaningful and beneficial activities for dementia patients.
Relevant: Creating meaningful activities is a pertinent goal for enhancing the patient’s quality of life.
Time-based: The statement should be completed within one month.
7. Improve Cognitive Functioning
“I’ll develop a plan for dementia patients to increase their cognitive functioning, such as memory exercises and activities tailored to their needs by the end of two months. I will use this to help them reach their highest possible cognitive functioning.”
Specific: You have clear objectives—develop a plan for improving cognitive functioning.
Measurable: Ensure you create an actionable plan within the provided time frame.
Attainable: It is surely realistic with the proper support and resources.
Relevant: This goal is essential for dementia patients’ overall well-being.
Time-based: You should be able to achieve this goal after two months.
8. Manage Behavioral Outbursts
“I want to create and enforce policies to help dementia patients manage their behavioral outbursts more effectively. The aim is for all staff members to have the necessary training and resources to help dementia patients manage their outbursts by the end of 6 months.”
Specific: You will aim to assist dementia patients in managing their outbursts.
Measurable: Determine if all staff members are successfully trained over time.
Attainable: You can accomplish this with enough time and effort.
Relevant: This goal is appropriate for dementia patients who may experience behavioral outbursts.
Time-based: Goal achievement will be reached within 6 months.
9. Improve Hygiene Habits
“To improve the patient’s hygiene habits, I will set up a system of reminders to ensure they maintain their hygiene, such as bathing, brushing their teeth, and changing clothes. After 7 months, I will evaluate the effectiveness of this system to determine if any changes need to be made.”
Specific: The SMART goal outlines the exact steps to improve hygiene habits.
Measurable: You can evaluate the system’s effectiveness to assess if changes need to be made.
Attainable: Improving hygiene habits is absolutely doable if you follow a daily routine.
Relevant: This goal is pertinent to improving the patient’s hygiene habits.
Time-based: Goal completion is expected after 7 whole months.
10. Increase Sleep Quality
“In order to promote adequate rest, I will help dementia patients establish healthy sleeping habits. This includes ways to maintain regular sleep schedules, avoid distractions at night, and techniques to reduce stress. I hope to see at least two hours more sleep per night in the three months ahead.”
Specific: This goal states the action (establishing healthy sleeping habits) and the desired result (minimum of two hours more sleep).
Measurable: You can count the hours of sleep the patient receives per night.
Attainable: The goal statement is possible but requires effort and dedication over time.
Relevant: Adequate rest is critical for dementia patients to boost daylight function.
Time-based: The goal is anticipated to be met within three months.
11. Promote Self-Care Skills
“I’ll focus on helping dementia patients learn self-care skills such as managing stress levels, avoiding fatigue, and problem-solving. I plan to provide one-on-one coaching and group activities to teach dementia patients these strategies for 8 months.”
Specific: The goal is easy to understand, detailing the objective and how it will be achieved.
Measurable: By providing one-on-one coaching and group activities, you can determine each patient’s progress.
Attainable: This goal is achievable by providing guidance and support to dementia patients.
Relevant: This is relevant to dementia patients because it helps them develop skills that will enable them to take better care of themselves.
Time-based: There is an 8-month timeline for accomplishing this goal.
12. Reduce the Risk of Falls
“I am committed to reducing the risk of falls for my patients with dementia. To do this, I will create and implement a fall prevention plan that includes increased staff supervision and mobility assessments, use of assistive devices when appropriate, and regular gait training exercises by the end of four months.”
Specific: The person has identified an approach for reducing the risk of falls for their patients with dementia.
Measurable: Track progress against the completion of the fall prevention plan.
Attainable: Creating and implementing a fall prevention plan is reasonable given the end date.
Relevant: This is directly related to improving the safety and health of people with dementia.
Time-based: You have to complete the goal within four months.
Developing SMART goals for dementia patients is a powerful tool to help them progress, even when the future feels uncertain.
Whether you’re a healthcare professional or caregiver, realize that each patient is unique; hence, their goals must be tailored to their needs. By breaking goals into smaller steps, you’ll create positive outcomes and nurture hope in those affected by dementia.
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