Saturday, August 24, 2013

Creating Dementia, Alzheimer’s Pleasure in Long-Term Care (Research, Partnerships Video 2:35)

Some people think of pleasurable moments as random occurrences usually out of their control. In fact, moments of pleasure can be created on a regular basis. Activities that promote pleasure in long-term care skilled nursing facilities can be particularly beneficial for residents with advanced dementia.

Research reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Research about creating pleasure for residents with advanced dementia was done with 193 residents in 7 Maryland nursing homes. These residents were presented 25 stimuli from the following categories: live human social stimuli, live pet social stimuli, simulated social stimuli, inanimate social stimuli, a reading stimulus, manipulative stimuli, a music stimulus, task and work-related stimuli, and two different self-identity stimuli. Analysis indicated that all types of social stimuli (live and simulated, human and nonhuman), self-identity stimuli, and music were related to significantly higher levels of pleasure. Pleasure was most likely to occur in environments with moderate noise levels.

These results indicate that caregivers of nursing home residents with dementia should incorporate ongoing activities focused on increasing pleasure in these residents’ plans. Plans should encourage social, self-identity, and music stimuli. Implementation should be done in such a way that pleasure becomes a normal occurrence in their lives and not the exception.

This video features the Copperfield Hill Caring Companions, a group that brings together residents with dementia and those in independent and assisted living. They meet weekly in engaging activities that spark memories and create new ones.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries.

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