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Activity-in-a-Box for engaging persons with dementia in groups: Implications for therapeutic recreation practice

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, PhD, Karen Hirshfeld, MA, CTRS, Rachel Gavendo, BA, CTRS, Erin Corey, BA, CTRS, Tasmia Hai, MEd


Therapeutic recreation (TR) activities benefit the affect and behavior of persons with dementia. The authors examine the perceived utility of an Activity-in-a-Box methodology as part of a larger study examining the impact of group activities on persons with dementia. The box contained items such as a program protocol and materials adapted to the abilities of persons with dementia. This article reports about the perceptions of 10 TR staff concerning the utility of the Activity-in-a-Box format. Staff reported that materials were very useful and enumerated multiple benefits, including: enhancing therapists’ ability to engage participants in different activities, facilitating new types of activities for staff members to try, and a useful tool for training. The authors recommend further investment in enhancing the scope and the quality of Activities-in-a-Box materials.


dementia, engagement, quality of life, therapeutic recreation, activities

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