Capturing Interests: Therapeutic Recreation Activities for Persons with Dementia
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Ann M. Kolanowski, Linda Buettner, Paul T. Costa, Jr., Mark S. LitakerCapturing Interests: Therapeutic Recreation Activities for Persons with Dementia

Behaviors such as screaming, wandering, and physical aggression occur in over 50% of persons
with dementia. Therapeutic recreation activities have demonstrated promise as interventions for
these dementia-related behaviors; however, few activities have wide appeal and caregivers
continue to express the need to find activities that keep persons with dementia engaged in
meaningful pursuits. This article describes a treatment theory for selecting activities that match
both skill level and personality style of interest, and a pilot study that tested the effectiveness of
these activities. Ten nursing home residents served as their own control in a crossover
experimental design in which they were assigned to treatment and control activities for 12
consecutive days, each in a random order. Treatment activities resulted in greater subject
engagement and more displays of positive affect. During treatment, there were fewer days when
dementia behaviors were exhibited than during control activities.


Author Ann M. Kolanowski, Linda Buettner, Paul T. Costa, Jr., Mark S. Litaker
Volume Vol 35, No 3 (2001)
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