Material Information

The Use of open-ended activities with older adults living with dementia
Carrol, Eva
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
conference poster


General Note:
Presented at the 2020 MSU Denver Undergraduate Research Conference
General Note:
Faculty mentor: Jessica Retrum
General Note:
Department of Social Work

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


The Use of Open Ended Activities with Older Adults Living with Dementia Eva Carroll, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Department of Social Work Literature Review Activity participation has been shown to improve mood , increase engagement, encourage social interaction , and decrease apathy Doll therapy, sand play, art and other elements of play have been utilized to increase engagement and appear effective in improving quality of life Introduction Older adults with dementia spend a significant amount of time unoccupied Engagement in meaningful activities decreases negative outcomes such as inappropriate behavior, depression, and boredom Acknowledgments Dr. Jessica Retrum , Thank you for your support and encouragement. Joe Miller, Michelle McParland, and Diane Spahn Methodology Memory Care staff asked to observe and record resident engagement with open ended materials Staff interviewed weekly regarding activity engagement Number of residents who participated, reaction to materials, time spent in activities. Resident mood, and other observations were recorded Results Sample size of 21 older adults living with dementia at a residential skilled care facility On average 2 of the 21 residents participated in open ended activities each week Self engagement with materials lasted approximately 10 20 minutes Engagement in large group activities or when socializing with staff or another resident typically lasted between 30 60 minutes Individual resident participation varied. Some residents never used materials, others used them many times ( see graph ) Materials seemed to help residents calm/relax , relieve stress/anxiety , encourage creativity , redirect/refocus , and encourage connection with others Residents needed to see a purpose in activities or participation decreased Illness in the facility and then facility lockdown due to COVID 19 decreased activity offerings during research period Discussion Some residents did not have the ability to self engage in activities and needed support to participate/stay engaged in an activity Ability to connect with other people appeared to support engagement in open ended activities In alignment with previous research, social interaction with another person appears to be an effective intervention to increase activity participation and engagement Lack of motivation and apathy were barriers to activity participation Contact Info: What is Open Ended Play? No identified goal or purpose Materials encourage creativity and imagination User determines material use Research Question Does the use of open ended materials increase engagement in those living with dementia? Implications and Recommendations Care facilities can use open ended activities to encourage connection with others. This appears to support increased engagement It is important that staff, volunteers, and others take time to engage with residents