15: Activity-Focused Dementia Care: Preventing Excess Disability and Difficult Behaviors

This program will:

  • Teach you about excess disability
  • Help you understand how activity-focused care can prevent it
  • Provide strategies for using meaningful activities to reduce agitation and other difficult behaviors
  • Show you how activity-focused care can enhance caregiver satisfaction and well-being
  • There are no easy answer when its comes to the care of another
  • Our hope is to offer you useful information and guidelines for caring for someone with dementia
  • These guidelines will need to be adjusted to suit your own individual needs

Activity-focused dementia care

  • Incorporates meaningful activities into daily life
  • Includes any kind of activity that is meaningful to the person

Person-centered care

  • Focuses on individual needs and wants
  • Considers personal preferences, habits and routines

Abilities-focused care

  • Identify and encourage use of retained skills and capacities
  • Compensates for dementia-related problems and limitations
  • Allows for successes at the person’s level of ability
  • Engaging in meaningful occupations is important
  • The human body needs to engage in activities to maintain physical and mental health
  • Provides a sense of usefulness, enriches daily life, and benefits physical and mental health
  • Any disability or functional decline that is over and above what is expected due to dementia-related changes
  • Caused by the lack of use of one’s skills
  • Results when use of existing skills is repeatedly discouraged or not encouraged
  • Hastens functional decline
  • Associated with passivity, social withdrawal and depression

Why do you think Robert has stopped trying to dress himself?

  • A. Robert has forgotten how to dress himself.
  • B. Robert has become more confused about what to wear.
  • C. Robert is depressed.
  • D. Robert isn’t encouraged to dress himself.
  • E. All of the above.

Choice A: Robert has forgotten how to dress himself, is a possibility.

  • Apraxia refers to the loss of the ability to carry out automatic movements and actions

Choice B: Robert has become more confused about what to wear, is another possibility.

Choice C: Robert has become more depressed, is another strong possibility.

Choice D: Robert isn’t encouraged to dress himself is another good choice. Choice E: All of the above, is the best answer.

Activity-focused care

  • Can prevent and even reverse excess disability because it is abilities-focused care

Abilities-focused care

  • Encourages the use of retained skills and capacities to compensate for dementia-related limitations
  • Only assist with the tasks that care recipients can’t do for themselves
  • “Doing with, not for” preserves dignity and shows respect
  • Doing things for someone prevents that person from using remaining skills and capacities
  • When people use abilities in activities that have meaning to them, their abilities can be maintained or improved
  • If people stop doing these activities, their skills grow weaker
  • People with dementia are vulnerable to losing their remaining skills when they stop participating in activities
  • Assess the person’s retained capacities
    • Physical and motor capacities
    • Cognitive capacities
    • Social and communicative capacities
    • Emotional skills and capacities
  • Modify caregiving and plan activities to encourage and promote these capacities

Robert is very agitated. Do you think that there’s anything Mary can do to reduce his agitation?

  • A. No, Mary should not try to do anything because she provoked Robert by coming into the room.
  • B. No, there’s nothing that Mary can do because brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease has made Robert agitated.
  • C. Yes, Robert could be given calming medications.
  • D. Yes, Robert could be given something meaningful to do.

Choice A: No, Mary should not try to do anything because she provoked Robert by coming into the room, is not a good answer.

Choice B: No, there’s nothing that Mary can do because brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease has made Robert agitated, is also not a good answer.

Choice C: Yes, Robert could be given calming medications, is not the best answer.

Choice D: Yes, Robert can be given something meaningful to do, is the best answer.

  • Activity-focused dementia care can help reduce restlessness, agitation and other difficult behaviors
  • All behaviors have meaning
    • Learn to read non-verbal messages
    • Check for unmet needs
    • Look for environmental triggers
  • Difficult behaviors
    • Physical aggression
    • Delusions
    • Agitation
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Anxiety
  • Activity-focused care helps to prevent agitation and difficult behaviors from occurring
  • Addresses the need to engage in meaningful activities
  • Redirect towards positive and satisfying experiences

Activity-focused care

  • Improves quality of life
  • Helps caregivers experience greater satisfaction, reward and joy
  • Support positive emotional experiences
  • Shifts negative emotional states into positive ones
  • Reduces difficult behaviors
  • Builds strong, trusting and satisfying relationships
  • Activity-focused dementia care
    • Includes activities that are meaningful to a person
    • Meets that person’s needs or wants
    • Promotes person-centered and abilities-focused care
    • Identifies and encourages the use of retained skills and capacities
    • Prevents and even reverses excess disability
    • Reduces restlessness, agitation and other difficult behaviors
    • Addresses the need to engage in meaningful activities
    • Leads to greater satisfaction and quality of life

Written by:
Catherine M. Harris, PhD, RNCS.
Mindy J. Kim-Miller, MD, PhD

Edited by:
Sasha Asdourian

www.LightBridgeHealthcare.com

14: Activity-Focused Dementia Care: Person-Centered Care And Environments

Select the best answers from the list of choices following each question.

Click here to open Certificate of Completion
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