Community participation in activities and places among older adults with and without dementia

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Dementia, Ahead of Print.
Availability of community-based destinations and amenities can facilitate healthy aging by supporting older adults’ functional abilities and enabling their participation in society, especially for those experiencing declining cognitive abilities. This study used a survey tool called participation in ACTivities and places OUTside the Home for older adults, specifically designed to examine the out-of-home participation of older adults living with or without dementia, to collect data on specific places and activities that individuals participate in over time. Thirty cognitively intact participants and 29 participants living with dementia were recruited. The past/present net participation figures indicate that all destinations are likely to be abandoned by persons with dementia over time. The findings indicate that both groups of participants were most likely to abandon recreation and physical activity places, although a higher number of persons with dementia reported that they would likely abandon these places in the future than the cognitively intact participants. Participants with dementia indicated multiple en route and at destination challenges, as well as their coping strategies. This study adds to our understanding of the out-of-home places visited by persons living with and without dementia and the patterns of changes in those visits over time. The findings are useful for health and social care professionals, including occupational therapists, social workers, as well as family caregivers, in recognizing the relative importance of certain out-of-home places and activities over others and the challenges faced by persons with dementia in getting to those places. This knowledge can inform programme and service providers to develop targeted interventions to support continued engagement by older adults with dementia and cognitively intact older adults.

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