Activity key to a Dementia sufferer’s well-being

plants-life-100702_640MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 10, 2011/ Troy Media/ –

Studies have shown nursing home residents with dementia spend 70 to 80 per cent of their time with nothing to do. “I’m dying of boredom” was the statement made by a gentleman living in an Alzheimer’s care unit to Wendy Wood of Colorado State University Head of Department of Occupational Therapy.

According to research conducted by Wood and published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in May 2009, the remaining cognitive, social, and emotional capabilities of persons with dementia living in Alzheimer’s units were rarely tapped into, promoting “excess disability” or disability beyond what is directly attributable to the disease itself. This could lead to a more rapid decline.

Because concerns about the use of certain medications to manage behaviours in persons with dementia are being raised, new approaches – such as music, dancing, art, and storytelling – are being tested and have been found to be effective in the care for persons with dementia.

The common element in all of them is engagement – or doing. Even routine tasks are beneficial for persons with dementia. Having the person help with dressing, setting the table, getting the mail, or answering the door are all tasks that can be assigned, as long as directions are also given. Targeted care incorporating daily engagement is key and has many benefits.

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