Activities for people with moderate to severe dementia

Topic: Activities for people with moderate to severe dementia
Facilitator: Amulya Rajan, Psychologist, ARDSI- Hyderabad Deccan
Saadiya Hurzuk, Psychologist, ARDSI- Hyderabad Deccan
Priti Bhanushali, Former Caregiver
Umbreen, Intern, ARDSI- Hyderabad Deccan
Date: 26th November, 2016
Place: Zeba Bashiruddin Centre for Healthy Ageing - ARSDI-Hyderabad Deccan activity centre
Time: 11.30am-1pm

  • The talk commenced with the research-based evidence behind the importance of cognitively stimulating activities for delaying the progression of dementia. Some examples of everyday cognitively-stimulating activities were given.
  • Amulya then went on to talk about the different purposes of activities such as to slow down the progression of dementia, eliciting positive emotions, improving communication, maintain abilities and independence, and to improve the quality of life of the dementia family unit.
  • She then went on to speak about the Person-centered plan followed at the ARDSI- Hyderabad Deccan daycare centre and its importance in determining suitable activites for the persons with dementia (PWD).
  • The broad division of the different types of activities into physical, mental and social with the importance of each was then explained.
  • Amulya then went on to talk about the general principles to be followed while modifying different activities for people with moderate to severe dementia. She spoke of how the activities must be based on past abilities and interests; how complex activities could be broken down into simpler steps; how the focus should be on 'doing the activity' rather than 'how they are doing the activity'; the need to follow easy, repetitive patterns; the importance of constant encouragement and appreciation; and the need for sensory stimulation through activities.
  • Amulya ended with giving different examples of activites broken down into simpler steps for people with moderate to severe dementia.
  • This was followed by a brief sharing session with anecdotes by Ms Priti Bhanushali about the activities she and her family practised with her loved one who suffered from dementia, during the later stages of the disease and the positive effect it had. She spoke of the importance of social contact for the entire dementia family unit, for caregivers to reach out for support during this difficult time, and how her family was strengthened during this difficult phase by just being together.
  • The session ended with a sharing session by an intern Umbreen who spoke of her experience at the the daycare centre in doing different activities with the PWDs. With examples she described how she had witnessed betterment in moods, being able to divert difficult behaviours, and the ease of communication with PWDs while conducting various activities with them.
  • The session ended with a brief Q&A session where the attendees posed questions about specific activities to do with their loved ones at home.