How can day activities for people with dementia better align with their needs?

It is important that people with dementia can continue to participate in society for as long as possible. Therefore, the supply of help and support they receive should match with the needs of this group of people as closely as possible. To achieve this, Ecorys conducted research on the existing demand and supply of day activities for the Dutch municipalities of Wijchen and Druten, as well as the Dementia Network Arnhem and Surroundings (NDAO). As a result, municipalities and care providers can develop an integrated offer of day activities that caters to the various needs of people with dementia.

Day activities are important because they provide meaning and enjoyment to people’s day. Additionally, they offer relaxation, social contacts and support at all stages of dementia, and they can improve cognitive or physical skills. Nevertheless, half of the surveyed individuals with dementia in Arnhem and surroundings don’t participate in day activities because they do not want to be associated with the disease.

Among the surveyed individuals with dementia who do participate in day activities, their primary reasons for participation include meeting others, slowing the progression of physical and memory decline, and occupying their time.

At the same time, most individuals are convinced that there are areas for improvement in the offered activities, despite the fact that more than half of the residents with dementia in Wijchen and Druten still living at home feel that the offer of day activities align with their desires. Opportunities for improvement are mainly related to better accommodating the different stages of dementia, diversity, sports, outdoor activities, creativity, and the group sizes of activities. There is also a need for short activities, day activities that feel purposeful, and ownership of the activities.

Finally, our research highlights points of interest for specific target groups. The first being that residents with a migration background are difficult to reach, leading to a lack of insight into their needs. Another consideration is that the offer for people with early-stage dementia should match their living environment. Practically educated individuals, for example, prefer activities related to their previous professions, while those with higher education levels seek contact with like-minded individuals.

For more information, please read the final report of the study for the municipalities of Wijchen and Druten (pdf) and the study for the Network Dementia Arnhem and Surroundings (NDAO) (pdf). Both studies are only available in Dutch.

2 October 2023

2 minute read

Key Experts

Annejet Kerckhaert

Principal Consultant