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Scand J Occup Ther. 2007 Jun;14(2):96-107.

Occupational patterns of people with dementia in residential care: an ethnographic study.

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  • 1Norwegian Centre for Dementia Research, Vestfold Mental Health Care Trust, T√łnsberg, Norway. torhild.holthe@nordemens.no


This paper describes an ethnographic study that sought to gain knowledge of the occupational patterns of persons with dementia in a care home and how the residents perceived the group activities in which they participated. The residents' ages ranged from 82 to 92 years. They were seven women and one man. Both participant observation and interviews were used to collect data. Data analysis resulted in an ethnographic story organised around two key themes: (1) the occupational patterns of the residents, and (2) the residents' perceptions of the activities offered. In this story residents appeared passive, playing the role of guests in the care home. Residents were dependent on staff to engage in daily occupations. Interviews revealed that residents perceived participation in activities as important to their mental and physical health and an advantage of living in the care home.

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