Activities in Dementia Care: A Comparative Assessment of Activity Types


Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice




This exploratory study compares the impact of five activity types on the well-being of institutionalized people with dementia: the intergenerational art program Opening Minds through Art, 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, and used that instrument to systematically observe N = 67 people with dementia as they participated in different activity types. People with dementia showed the highest well-being scores during Opening Minds through Art 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, people with dementia 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 people with dementia to reach significantly high levels of overall well-being, we recommend that activities are specifically designed for people with dementia and incorporate a 1:1 ratio between people with dementia and well-trained volunteers/staff members. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Nursing Home; Receptive Music Methods; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Alzheimer’s disease; dementia activities; comparative assessment; well-being; creative self-expression; Creativity; Dementia; Elder Care; Residential Care Institutions; Well Being; Art Therapy; Self-Expression

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type