Diversional Therapy For Dementia
Why Is Diversional Therapy For Dementia Important?
Dementia is a subject I love to chat about and finding different forms of diversional therapy that can help people improve their quality of life.
Recently, I treated a patient who presented to our emergency department. Early in our conversations, it was clear that this patient, Margaret, did some work with dementia patients. Instantly, I wanted to learn more about the great work Margaret and her group were providing people with dementia.
It became clear that Margaret was providing diversional therapy for dementia patients. This is a commonly used tool for those who suffered with impaired cognition. It is a tool that can be used for any number of conditions and situations. For example, we use diversional therapy when we treat small children (sometimes, we might refer to them as tactics in this situation, admittedly). Diversional therapy for dementia patients is focused on the person to undertake recreational or leisure activities, whether actively or passively, to help improve physical, emotional and psychological well being. The range of activities that are included in diversional therapy for dementia is only limited by a person’s imagination. Diversional therapy can range from individual activities to group activities. Activities can include picnics, visiting museums, dancing, singing, sporting activities, going out for meals and even having pets visit.
In Margaret’s case, she and a group of entertainers use singing and dancing to great effect to help their audience interact with the show.
The Incredible Role Of Volunteers
Firstly, it should be noted that Margaret and her group do this great work entirely voluntarily. Volunteers provide a great service to every community. A volunteer gives so much more than simply their time. Their selfless efforts help other people achieve a goal so they may have a more fulfilling life. They are the hidden gems that make many lives sparkle.
Meeting a special gem like Margaret was inspirational. Working in an Emergency department and having iNightingale has great benefits, and finding out about Margaret’s amazing work made the day extra special.
After sorting out her reason for admission to emergency, I became nosy as usual and wanted to find out more about Margaret and her history. Straight away Margaret brought up the subject of her work with using diversion therapy for dementia patients.
Introducing the Metropolitan Light Opera Company
M.L.O.C is the abbreviation for Metropolitan Light Opera Company. It is essentially a volunteer group dedicated to performing for people at retirement and nursing homes. The only professional in the group is the pianist. All the costumes are hand made by the group, which can be very intricate and time consuming to make. The costumes look fabulous as you can see by the image below. All costumes are brightly coloured to help with visually impaired people as well as help stimulate the senses of the mind.
M.L.O.C has changed from its original form many years ago. Now there are approximately 10 members in the opera providing a valuable service to the community. Most importantly, they deliver a whole load of fun.
The show’s performance lasts for 75 minutes. It is broken up into 2 segments. Margaret explained how the two sessions help people stay focused and able to connect better with the performance. The segments are delivered in two distinct themes: an english and a Spanish show. This shows the audience a definite change in format. To make things even trickier, the group have a themed show that goes through the progression of an event. The example Margaret gave is the progression from a rainy day with umbrellas clouds progressing through to a sunny day with flowers and bright sunshine. This helps people with dementia see the flow of the story and remain engaged with the opera.
Margaret says the audience always get involved by clapping to the music, singing along to the words, having a dance in their seat. Seeing Margaret’s face light up with all the fond memories of past performances and different audiences made it clear why M.L.O.C was her passion.
Thank you Margaret for your real story.
Are you a someone with similar experience delivering great volunteer work? Or a carer who has seen diversional therapy for dementia in action? We’d love to hear about your experience