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Research Article  |   May 2009
Dying of Boredom: An Exploratory Case Study of Time Use, Apparent Affect, and Routine Activity Situations on Two Alzheimer’s Special Care Units
Author Affiliations
  • Wendy Wood, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, 219 Occupational Therapy Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1573; wwood@cahs.colostate.edu
  • Jennifer Womack, MS, OTR/L, SCDCM, is Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Barbara Hooper, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Article Information
Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia / Neurologic Conditions / Productive Aging
Research Article   |   May 2009
Dying of Boredom: An Exploratory Case Study of Time Use, Apparent Affect, and Routine Activity Situations on Two Alzheimer’s Special Care Units
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2009, Vol. 63, 337-350. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.3.337
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2009, Vol. 63, 337-350. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.3.337
Abstract

The objective of this instrumental case study was to explore interrelationships among routine activity situations on 2 Alzheimer's special care units (SCUs) and 2 resident quality-of-life (QoL) indicators: daily time use and emotional well-being. Fourteen residents participated. We collected data across four 12-hr days using computer-assisted direct observations and computed associations of activity situations with QoL indicators and mean durations of QoL indicators in activity situations and daily by facility. We compared mean durations of QoL indicators across facilities and analyzed time-use profiles of 2 residents. We found that participants’ capacities for activity engagement and emotional vitality were infrequently expressed at both SCUs. Diminished QoL was attributable to participants’ dementia-related impairments coupled with insufficient attention to their occupational needs, initiatives, and capacities. Findings call for occupational therapists’ involvement as educators, mentors, and consultants to enhance the effectiveness of routine activity situations in promoting QoL through everyday occupations.