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Research Article  |   July 2004
Responses of Persons With Dementia To Challenges in Daily Activities: A Synthesis of Findings From Empirical Studies
Author Affiliations
  • Louise Nygård, PhD, OT reg, is Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, 23200, Karolinska Institutet, 141 83 Huddinge, Sweden; louise.nygard@neurotec.ki.se
Article Information
Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia / Neurologic Conditions / Occupations of Older Adults
Research Article   |   July 2004
Responses of Persons With Dementia To Challenges in Daily Activities: A Synthesis of Findings From Empirical Studies
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2004, Vol. 58, 435-445. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.4.435
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2004, Vol. 58, 435-445. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.4.435
Abstract

OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this study was to obtain a better understanding of strategies initiated and used in response to problems in performing daily occupations by persons with dementia in a mild to moderate stage.

METHODS. The results from seven in-depth, qualitative studies conducted by the author and coworkers describing such response strategies were analyzed and synthesized using aggregated analysis. Synthesized categories describing different types of response behavior were identified and the variations within them investigated.

RESULTS. In general, the strategies used by persons with mild to moderate dementia were intuitively employed and characterized as “common sense behavior.” The main goal of the strategies was understood as retaining a sense of control and mastery over everyday life matters. It is argued that the users implicitly or explicitly experienced a need to adapt; further exploration of how awareness of ability and disability in daily life occupation may be experienced and expressed in persons with dementia seems important.

CONCLUSION. Findings suggest that therapists and caregivers be open to detecting and supporting the response strategies used by persons with dementia as long as they appear to be useful from the perspective of the individual rather than strictly from an efficacy point of view.