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What activities can motivate residents with dementia?

Status: Open    Feb 11, 2016 - 07:30 AM


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Feb 17, 2016 - 10:01 AM

There is a growing body of research that shows that experiences which appeal to the creative and emotive centers of the brain (what used to be called right brain vs. left brain functions) can help to engage and inspire people living with dementias, even as their illnesses progress. My own organization runs programs that bring together people living with dementia and their family members in museum and art center settings to have small group conversations about works of art (and we do related arts-centered programs within care communities), but this is just one example of many. The films “I Remember Better When I Paint” and “Alive Inside” document the power of visual art and music to “reawaken” people to their own sense of self and self-worth.

A significant longitudinal study carried out by Dr. Gene Cohen — “The Creativity and Aging Study” — demonstrated conclusively that engagement in creative, cultural programs can benefit the physical health and well-being of people as they age; Dr. Cohen himself and many others of us have been able to extrapolate from the valuable results of his study to demonstrate that imaginative, creative engagement can enhance quality of life for people living with dementia.


Feb 12, 2016 - 01:56 PM

It depends on the person. It depends on what they liked to do previously. It depends on what day it is, what time it is or what they had for breakfast. (kidding about this last bit)
My husband has never been a joiner, one to read, sing or listen to music. He is still the same way.
I could get him to sort cards by color or number. I had to take them away when he started eating the cards.
He does have a car and a truck that his son gave him that he likes. I had to take it away because he started chewing on it.
Since he is in late stage I am not worried about motivating him.
But when I was able to get him out he loved going for a walk or a ride. That is the way we used to take our vacations, always a road trip.
But if your loved one likes music, likes to sing encourage that.
Try painting, coloring books puzzles. Try looking for toys at resale shops. Make sure they can be easily cleaned and can not be eaten. You never know what might strike their fancy.
If one thing does not work something else might or nothing might.
If nothing is motivating a person that used to be very active though it might be worth having them evaluated for depression. (depending on the stage they are in)
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