Lokon, E., Sauer, P.E., & Li, Y. (2016). Activities in dementia care: A comparative assessment of activity types. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice 18(2), 471-489. DOI: 10.1177/1471301216680890
This exploratory study compares the impact of five activity types on the well-being of institutionalized people with dementia (PWD): the intergenerational art program Opening Minds through Art (OMA), 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 (SM-GCCWOT), and used that instrument to systematically observe N=67 PWD as they participated in different activity types. PWD showed the highest well-being scores during OMA 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, PWD 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 PWD to reach significantly high levels of overall well-being, we recommend that activities are specifically designed for PWD and incorporate a 1:1 ratio between PWD and well-trained volunteers/staff members.