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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting approximately 60% to 70% of the older adult population aged 65 and older (Santos da Silva, de Oliveira Alves, Barros Leite Slagueiro & Bezerra Barbosa, 2018). Reminiscence therapy prompts an individual’s memory by stimulating their sense – sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch, and provides an opportunity for them to revisit and relive their past through their surrounding environment (Swann, 2013). For individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, occupational therapy focuses on adapting the environment in order to promote their ability to engage in meaningful occupations, increase quality of life, and social participation; ultimately optimizing occupational performance (Letts, et. al, 2011). Activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, leisure activities and social activities are reported as problematic areas for individuals Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (Padilla, 2011). Reminiscence therapy shows the potential to improve occupational functioning for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease, however occupational therapy is not currently involved.

The objectives of this project were to complete a needs assessment identifying the occupation-based activity related needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at an adult day reminiscence therapy program, and then propose program recommendations to the staff on adapting activities to meet the identified population needs. Identified behaviors from the observation of the Alzheimer’s disease and dementia population at Glenner Town Square were connected to an overall decrease in activity engagement and participation. Current staff discussed their experiences with lack of participation, disengagement, and the ongoing barriers to redirect or reengage participants in activities. Caregivers expressed their day to day concerns and challenges living with and caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The needs assessment ultimately supported the limited research currently available on the role occupational therapy and reminiscence therapy play on activity engagement and occupational performance in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2020

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Aged. Alzheimer Disease, Dementia, Needs Assessment, Activities of Daily Living


Neurology | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Spring 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 23, 2020.


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Exploring the Occupation-Based Needs of Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease at a Reminiscence Therapy Adult Day Center