New research shows that participating in certain group activities can significantly improve overall mood, engagement and participation in dementia patients. Common nursing home activities were used in this study in which most, if not all, are easily replicated to be conducted. It is important to note that findings from this study indicate varying levels of success for different activities, and that results may be affected by the individual’s own cognitive abilities.
Listed below are some group activities you may introduce to your dementia patient and in contrast, some group activities to most definitely stay away from!
1. Games, choral groups, holiday discussions – such activities result in significantly greater levels of engagement, active participation, positive attitude and positive mood.
2. Exercise groups – this activity has shown to specifically increase active participation.
3. Brain games – both mentally stimulating and fun, brain games have been found to improve the overall mood of the patient.
4. Baking – this activity may be a little tricky to conduct in large groups or if there is no kitchen available, but if given the opportunity, do try out baking as it is known to increase active participation and a positive mood.
Stay away from activities such as poetry and storytelling as research shows a drop in attitude, positive mood and active participation.
In general, group activities seem to have a positive effect on participation, engagement and mood of dementia patients. With these improvements, the quality of life of these individuals will get better, ultimately preventing behavioural problems from a non pharmacological perspective.