Elaine Argyle, Tom Dening & Peter Bartlett (2016): Space, the final
frontier: outdoor access for people living with dementia, Aging & Mental Health, DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2016.1222351
Studies have consistently found that access to outdoor space has a positive impact on the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia. Benefits are often linked to an affinity with nature and outdoor settings.
Specific benefits of going outside expressed by people with dementia include interaction with others, aesthetic appreciation, exercise and a sense of freedom. For those living in care homes, where privacy tends to be lacking, additional benefits of outdoor access can also potentially include the experience of being alone and in a peaceful place.
This editorial suggests that access to the outdoors is central to the promotion of the human rights and social inclusion of people with dementia. It also explore the barriers and facilitators to the achievement of this access.
Objective: The aim of the study is to identify the degree of association between mood, activity engagement, activity location, and social interaction during everyday life of people with dementia (PwD) living in long-term care facilities.
Method: An observational study using momentary assessments was conducted. For all 115 participants, 84 momentary assessments of mood, engagement in activity, location during activity, and social interaction were carried out by a researcher using the tablet-based Maastricht Electronic Daily Life Observation-tool.
Results: A total of 9660 momentary assessments were completed. The mean age of the 115 participants was 84 and most (75%) were women. A negative, neutral, or positive mood was recorded during 2%, 25%, and 73% of the observations, respectively. Positive mood was associated with engagement in activities, doing activities outside, and social interaction. The type of activity was less important for mood than the fact that PwD were engaged in an activity. Low mood was evident when PwD attempted to have social interaction but received no response.
Conclusion: Fulfilling PwD’s need for occupation and social interaction is consistent with a person-centred dementia care focus and should have priority in dementia care
CEO and Co-Founder of DAI, Kate Swaffer said the booklet would provide an important source of information for people with dementia and a crucial tool for addressing national and global policy that affects people with dementia.
You can view a video of Kate Swaffer and Peter Mittler introducing the need for a human rights based approach to dementia at the recent DAI Conference here:
Social isolation is a key concern for individuals with dementia in long-term care. A possible solution is to promote social interaction between residents.
A first step toward facilitating positive relationships between residents with dementia is to understand the mechanisms behind their interactions with each other, and also how their relationships with each other are built through such interactions.
Drawing on casual conversations between residents in a special care unit for dementia, this paper uses systemic functional linguistics to examine how people with dementia use language to enact and construct their role-relations with each other.
Results suggest people with dementia are able and willing conversationalists. However, factors such as the extent of communication breakdown and compatibility of the interlocutors may influence whether positive relations develop or not. Casual conversation is suggested to be a promising activity to encourage positive interpersonal processes between individuals with dementia in residential care.
The physical and mental health of older adults with dementia is affected by levels of social integration.
The development of dementia special care units (D-SCU) arose, in part, to facilitate more meaningful social interactions among residents implying greater social integration of D-SCU residents as compared to residents in a traditional nursing home (TNH). But, it is unknown whether D-SCU residents are receiving equal or greater benefits from living on a segregated unit intended to enhance their social environment and integration through both design and staff involvement.
The purpose of this study was to pilot test a comprehensive objective assessment to measure social integration among nursing home residents with dementia and to compare levels of integration of residents living on a D-SCU to those living in a TNH.
A total of 29 residents participated (15 D-SCU and 14 TNH) and data were gathered from medical charts, visitor logs, and through direct observations. Over 1700 interactions were recorded during 143 h of observation. Specifically, the location, context, type, quantity, and quality of residents’ interactions were recorded.
Overall, the majority of resident interactions were verbal and initiated by staff. Interactions were social in context, and occurred in public areas, such as the common room with a large screen TV. Average interactions lasted less than 1 min and did not change the resident’s affect. Residents spent between 10% and 17% of their time interacting with other people on average.
D-SCU staff were significantly more likely to initiate interactions with residents than TNH staff. D-SCU residents also experienced more interactions in the afternoons and expressed more pleasure and anxiety than residents in the TNH. This study helps to lay the groundwork necessary to comprehensively and objectively measure social integration among people with dementia in order to evaluate care environments.