Scholarship has shown that cognitive stimulation may aid in improving the memory abilities in older adults. For this reason, senior living residences, senior centers, and adult day care programs could improve the quality of life of older adults by offering a cognitive stimulation program. An article by Winningham and Dinius provides information on how to create and put into operation group-based cognitive stimulation programs.
The authors state that the first step to creating a group-based cognitive stimulation program is to identify which participants would benefit from such a program. The program is best suited to individuals whose cognitive ability levels are similar. A professional can administer the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) in order to assess participants’ cognitive abilities. Group size should correspond to the level of cognitive impairment of the participants. A smaller group is an appropriate size for participants who have a higher level of impairment. Class materials will strengthen the program if it incorporates a wide variety of activities. Participants should be encouraged to participate in cognitive stimulation activities often in order to reap the benefits. The authors conclude the article by emphasizing that the success of a cognitive enhancement program rests on the participants’ belief that they will be successful.
Cognitive stimulation programs can improve older adults’ quality of life. Senior living, senior centers, and adult day care centers could benefit from incorporating these types of programs.
Winningham, R. and Dinius, C. 2010. Successful practices for developing cognitive stimulation programs. Seniors Housing & Care Journal (18)1: 67-76.