Elizabeth Lokon, et. al. Activities in dementia care: A comparative assessment of activity types. Dementia. First published online ahead of print December 5, 2016.
This exploratory study compares the impact of five activity types on the well-being of institutionalized people with dementia: the intergenerational art program Opening Minds through Art, art and music therapies, creative activities, non-creative activities, and no activities at all.
We validated the Scripps Modified Greater Cincinnati Chapter Well-Being Observational Tool, and used that instrument to systematically observe N = 67 people with dementia as they participated in different activity types.
People with dementia showed the highest well-being scores during Opening Minds through Art compared to all other activities. No significant well-being differences were found between creative activities led by licensed art/music therapist versus regular activity staff. Furthermore, no significant well-being differences were found between creative and non-creative activities that were both led by regular activity staff.
Overall, people with dementia benefit from participating in activities, regardless of the type (creative or non-creative), or who conducts them (licensed therapists or activity staff). However, in order for people with dementia to reach significantly high levels of overall well-being, we recommend that activities are specifically designed for people with dementia and incorporate a 1:1 ratio between people with dementia and well-trained volunteers/staff members.