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Attending an activity center: positive experiences of a group of home-dwelling persons with early-stage dementia

Authors Söderhamn U, Aasgaard L, Landmark B

Received 2 September 2014

Accepted for publication 8 October 2014

Published 10 November 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 1923—1931


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Ulrika Söderhamn,1 Live Aasgaard,2 Bjørg Landmark2,3

1Centre for Caring Research Southern Norway, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Grimstad, 2Institute of Research and Development for Nursing and Care Services, Municipality of Drammen, 3Faculty of Health, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Drammen, Norway

Background: In Norway, there is a focus on home-dwelling people with dementia receiving the opportunity to participate in organized meaningful activities. The aim of this study was to elucidate the experiences of home-dwelling persons with early-stage dementia who attend an activity center and participate in adapted physical and social activities delivered by nurses and volunteers.
Methods: The study adopted a qualitative approach, with individual interviews conducted among eight people diagnosed with early-stage dementia. The interview texts were analyzed using manifest and latent content analysis.
Results: Four categories, ie, “appreciated activities”, “praised nurses and volunteers”, “being more active”, and “being included in a fellowship”, as well as the overall theme “participation in appreciated activities and a sense of feeling included in a fellowship may have a positive influence on health and well-being” emerged in the analysis. The informants appreciated the adapted physical and social activities and expressed their enjoyment and gratitude. They found the physical activities useful, and they felt themselves to be included in a fellowship through cheerful nurses and volunteers. The nurses were able to create a good atmosphere and spread joy in the center together with the volunteers. The informants felt themselves valued as the persons they were. These findings indicated that such activities may have had a positive influence on the informants’ health and well-being.
Conclusion: In order to succeed with this kind of activity center, it is decisive that the nurses are able to tailor meaningful activities and create an environment where the persons with dementia can feel that they are respected and valued. The municipality health care service should implement such activity centers with specialist nurses in dementia care together with volunteers.

Keywords: activity center, content analysis, experiences, physical and social activities, qualitative research

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