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Increasing the Engagement of Patients with Dementia

Engaging Elderly Dementia Patients with Activities

One of the challenges that we are faced with is trying to improve the level of engagement of residents with dementia.

We all know, and research confirms that engaging demen tia residents as often as possible in meaningful activity improves their quality of life and reduces responsive behaviors. The problem in most dementia specific facilities is that there simply is not enough staff time available to do this. It takes a lot of time to find an activity, set it up and be with the resident while they do it. We can help with that.

We have developed a set of dementia cognitive activities for patients and in-service training that specifically addresses these issues.

The Montessori-based activities that we use are not complex or sophisticated, but they have been carefully designed to

  • Be small and easily kept on each unit
  • Be used with minimal preparation
  • Have general appeal
  • Be appropriate for individuals at different levels of needs and abilities
  • Be easy to present
  • Be easy for the resident to do independently, with minimal supervision

The Keeping Busy Montessori dementia care approach to training and implementation is twofold. First the recreation staff is trained on how to introduce the activities to the residents with dementia in a way that can be replicated easily by other staff, volunteers and family with less therapeutic training. They then present activities to each member of a small group of residents who have been selected as being appropriate.

This is key because it allows the recreation staff to determine the appropriate level of challenge for each resident and to "train” the residents to do the activities. The results are recorded in an Activity Log for each resident.

  • Use a specially designed group of simple activities
  • Teach Recreation staff to introduce activities to residents with dementia in way that can be replicated by others
  • Recreation staff "trains" the residents to do the activities and record results in Activity Logs
  • Teach other staff to engage residents using these same activities and the information in the Activity Logs

While this is happening, front line staff is given hands on training on how to use the Activity Logs and how to present each activity in a way that takes advantage of the resident's familiarity with the activity. This enables the resident to be engaged with minimal supervision. The set of activities are available and accessible on each unit so that anyone can engage residents when they are alert with nothing to do.

The process continues as the next group of dementia patients is "trained" by the recreation staff until all appropriate residents have been evaluated, have been familiarized with the activities and have an Activity Log in place.

The end result is that any trained staff, volunteer or family member can present these activities effectively, resulting in more opportunities for the residents with Alzheimer's and dementia to be engaged in meaningful activities.

We can custom tailor the in-service training to match your facility's requirements, and offer consulting services to help at any stage of the process.


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