Meaningful activity in advanced dementia

Margaret Brown, Bryan Mitchell, Sam Quinn, Andrea Boyd, Debbie Tolson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When the person with advanced dementia cannot communicate verbally and has limited movement, activities that he or she once enjoyed may no longer be possible. This limits opportunity for self-realisation and can lead to a preoccupation within advanced dementia care about the routines associated with the maintenance of comfort and nourishment, at the expense of contentment and moments of fulfilment (Smith et al., 2018). Such a narrow focus can lead to changes in behaviour indicating boredom, frustration and distress. Yet, there are opportunities for a more creative approach to activity that can be adapted to the person’s changing needs and the human desire to feel connected and engaged. Examples of these evidence informed creative interventions for people living with advanced dementia care include music, doll focussed activity, animal assisted interventions, complementary therapy approaches and multisensory experiences, such as Namaste. These activities can engage the person with advanced dementia in a close connection with another human being through individualised and sensory based care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Older People
Early online date2 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2020


  • advanced dementia
  • meaningful activity
  • sensory care
  • embodiment
  • nursing
  • dementia
  • frailty
  • neurology
  • older people

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