Health Effects of the Relocation of Patients With Dementia: A Scoping Review to Inform Medical and Policy Decision-Making

Frida V M Ryman, Jetske C Erisman, Lea M Darvey, Jacob Osborne, Ella Swartsenburg, Elena V Syurina

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background and Objectives: Research into the relocation (including international relocation) of people with dementia is increasingly important due to the aging population and latest developments in the international politics (including globalization and concerns over international migration). There is need for an overview of the health effects of relocation to facilitate and inform decision- and policy-making regarding these relocations. The aim of this literature review was to provide insight into the physical, psychological, and social consequences of varied types of relocations of older adults suffering from dementia.

Research Design and Methods: A scoping literature review with a systematic search was performed in PubMed, Web of Science, PsychInfo, JSTOR, and ScienceDirect. The articles dealing with subject of relocation of older adults from 1994 to 2017 were included and analyzed. Methodological quality assessment was performed for all articles.

Results: Final list included 13 articles. The effects of relocation were discussed in terms of mortality and morbidity. In most studies, the health effects of the relocation of older adults suffering from dementia were negative. A decline in physical, mental, behavioral, and functional well-being was reported. The most recurring effect was a higher level of stress, which is more problematic for patients with dementia. In general, unless it is carefully planned, it is best to avoid changing lives of people with dementia and it is recommended to actively work to reduce their exposure to stress.

Discussion and Implications: The outcomes of the study suggest definite evidence for the negative effects of relocation of the older adults. This research aims to be used as the support of the legal and medical decisions of relocation of patients with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergny031
Pages (from-to)e674-e682
Number of pages9
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number6
Early online date28 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Dementia
  • Health effects
  • Law
  • Patient care
  • Policy
  • Relocation
  • Review


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