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Home > Activity Therapy

Activity Therapy

Participating in Activities…is it Dementia Therapy?

The Alzheimer research tells us YES – activity based care is a successful therapy approach for Alzheimer’s and dementia.  A person with a condition causing physical weakness, such as arthritis, does exercises to maximize their physical strength.  So is the case for people with dementia, who have a cognitive weakness.  Exercising the affected brain by using  capabilities that remain at every stage of dementia, maximizes cognitive functioning.
“Activity is not just a divergence or an excitement. It is a way of making the most of the individual’s abilities.”
– Jitka Zolga, Occupational Therapist

Activity Therapy Slows Dementia

A 2012 review of multiple research trials that used cognitive stimulation, including activities, like puzzles, games, and reminiscing, showed a benefit in memory and thinking test scores in people with mild to moderate dementia.  This was over and above any medication effects.  In addition, there was reported improved quality of life for the person and increased communication abilities. 
Currently available pharmacological, or drug, treatments have shown only modest effects in slowing the progression of dementia. However, a recent study of an activity therapy program given along with routine dementia drugs to nursing home patients with dementia was effective at stopping the dementia from progressing further. In addition, participants were able to keep doing their everyday tasks. Effects of the therapy program lasted for at least 12 months. In contrast, the control group of patients who took only the routine dementia drugs, but did not receive the activity therapy, had their dementia progress.  MindStart large piece puzzles, dementia games, and This Is My Life memory book, are all good fits to cognitive stimulation programs such as these.

Why MindStart Alzheimer Activities for Dementia Care?

MindStart offers the only comprehensive line of activity products designed for and tested with people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. MindStart products are designed by an occupational therapist and have simplifications built into them, so they can be completed by people living with dementia, despite the cognitive decline.  The degree of simplifications needed corresponds to the person's dementia activity level.  Considering both the person's current activity level and their interests can you lead you to appropriate products. 
A small research study on the MindStart products, completed by occupational therapy students at the University of MN, compared standard activity products  used in dementia care (shown in blue, in the table below) with MindStart products (shown in red).  The results show that MindStart products can be used more independently by the person with dementia, providing feelings of success for the person and requiring less oversight by the caregiver.  MindStart activities are a perfect fit for providing dementia activity therapy.
Because MindStart offers easier versions of common adult hobbies or activities, they are appropriate for many conditions of the brain:
  • Stroke or vascular dementia

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Lewy body dementia; Frontotemporal dementia; Young onset dementia

  • Adult developmental disability

Research shows MindStart activities can be completed more independently be persons with dementia, with less caregiver oversight required.