Delirium and Dementia


Cognitive-stimulation Therapy and Recreational Activities

Treatment Summary: Cognitive interventions are suggested for dementia as well as delirium superimposed on dementia, such as cognitive-stimulation therapy for Alzheimer's disease. This involves guided practice in various areas of cognition. Some of these areas of cognition include participation in recreational activities. Some of these activities include participating in board games with other elderly patients, playing musical instruments, and dancing. In a case study, a woman was prescribed a game of hangman, coming up with words that fit into the category of 'type of card game', such as poker, solitaire, bridge, and pinochle, searching a picture for different baking instruments, such as a mixer, spatula, spoon, and measuring cup, and four-corners bingo. Her activities were limited to 30 minutes daily to prevent fatigue. Results: The benefits from these activities include their building cognitive-reserve capacity, maintaining functioning, and reducing excess disability. Other studies showed that recall of remote memories occurred. These activities will also help to capture that person's attention and engage them for longer periods of time than activities that are not suited to their particular interests. Individuals who participate in these activities are shown to experience less cognitive decline and a quicker return to normal activities than they would show without these activities. This therapy also offers multi-domain cognitive activities that are shown to produce larger and more significant results than single-domain cognitive activities. These activities are also less stressful to these elderly adults.

  • Reference: Kolanowski, A. M., Fick, D. M., Clare, L., Therrien, B., & Gill, D. J. (2010). An intervention for delirium superimposed on dementia based on cognitive reserve theory. Aging & Mental Health, 14(2), 232-242. doi:10.1080/13607860903167853
  • Submitter: Michæl Gunter
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