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Evidence Summary

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Individualized leisure and social activity interventions can benefit people with dementia

Han A, Radel J, Mcdowd J, & Sabata D. The benefits of individualized leisure and social activity interventions for people with dementia: A systematic review. Activities, Adaptation & Aging. 2016; 40(3): 219-265.

Review question

•    What are the benefits of individualized leisure and social activity interventions for people with dementia and how are these interventions tailored to each individual? 

Background

      Person-centred care is an individualized and holistic approach that focuses on addressing each patient as a whole person with a unique history, interests, preferences, needs, strengths, and abilities.

      The provision of meaningful individual activities is increasingly being seen as an important element of person-centred care to maintain the self, fulfill psychological needs, and promote the psychosocial well-being of people with dementia.

      This study aims to review the literature on benefits of individualized leisure and social activity interventions for people with dementia.

How the review was done

      Study authors searched three electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, and PsychINFO) for peer-reviewed journal articles published in English until 2014, using key words related to individualized care, leisure, social participation, and dementia.

      A total of 615 peer-reviewed studies were identified in the searches, and 32 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility. 

What the researchers found

      Overall, this review supports the benefits of individualized leisure and social activities on people with dementia.

      Individualized activities were associated with improvements in levels of engagement, agitation, withdrawn behaviours, and affect. Diverse types of leisure and social activities were involved in each of the 32 included studies.

      Factors such as music preference, interests, functional ability, and lifelong roles were used to tailor different types of leisure and social activities to each individual. Benefits were found in leisure and social activities regardless of whether the activity was individualized based on a single factor or multiple factors, although findings suggest the tailoring of activities based on interest to be the most beneficial.

Conclusion

      This systematic review found that individualized leisure and social activities can benefit people with dementia in a number of ways, in particular, by promoting engagement, improving affect, and reducing both agitation and withdrawn behaviours.

      Further study is needed to identify effective ways of promoting engagement through individualized leisure and social activities and thus enhancing quality of life for people with dementia not only with later stages but also with earlier stages of dementia.




Glossary

Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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