Managing Behaviours In Dementia

Managing Behaviours In Dementia: How Well Designed Activity Technology Can Help.

It’s a common experience for people living with dementia in an aged care facility are likely to be under stimulated, disengaged from meaningful tasks and socially isolated.

In our clinical experience we see this occurring in the home as well.  Commonly to a lesser degree but you’d appreciate there is also a reduction in doing activities  as well as sustaining social connections.

The Evidence For Managing Behaviours In Dementia

There is sound evidence to support the use of targeted, personalised activities such as music, art,  exercise and occupational therapy. However, these programs are often expensive and resource intensive to implement and only cover a small percentage of the day.

The result is short spikes of quality activity engagement then long periods of isolation and activity dislocation. Social isolation and boredom combined with unfamiliarity with context, people or environments may lead to reactive behaviours such as hitting, biting, yelling.

So what you have is good evidence to support the use of therapeutic activities, but to get effective programs in place has a high price tag. Sadly, in reality,  for the person living with dementia they do not receive opportunities to engage in tasks, interact with their environment and community.

How Well Designed Activity Technology Can Help.

That’s where Ambient Activity Technology (AAT)  aims to bridge the gap. AAT is a wall mounted interactive tool. Easily accessible in the environment it allows for self assessed, engaging and personalised interactions at any time during the day 24/7.

According to paper presented at the 2017 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care,  the research team of Andrea Wilkinson and associates indicate the aim of AAT is to:

  1. Encourage meaningful engagement through access to appropriate and personalized experiences, memories, and activities;
  2. Reinforce familiarity and personal identity;
  3. Promote physical activity;
  4. Enhance confidence;
  5.  Offer a flexible product that is able to adapt to the changing mental and physical abilities inherent in dementia


AAT is an exciting develop managing behaviours in dementia care. It represents a move in a direction of providing people with dementia a tool which is

  • accessible,
  • triggers (self initiates) engagement in meaningful activity.

This is an advancement from the prevailing medical model of aged care which focuses on harm minimisation, such as falls prevention.  It will be interesting to observe the finding of AAT implementation especially on user engagement and frequency of use.

Dementia and Technology with Occupational Therapy Brisbane

Are interested in understanding what care, therapy and technology solutions are available?

At Occupational Therapy Brisbane we can arrange for a registered experienced occupational therapist to visit your home, assess the needs of yourself and the person with dementia, and create a plan.

We ensure that families have the knowledge, tools, and technology necessary to make their lives and the life of their loved one as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.

To speak with one of our senior therapists for free, we invite you to call 1300 783 200.

Are you considering an investment in technology for you or your client living with Dementia?

Perhaps you’ve seen a new technology tool with promising features to help a person living with dementia engage in everyday tasks and are thinking about buying it.

Having clarity about a technology’s potential to assist a person living with dementia is an issue that many carers and team managers are desperately trying to resolve.

So before you put your hands in your pocket we’ve a free framework to help guide your assessment and decision.  You can download it today.

Source: Proceedings of the 2017 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care

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