Do Reports on Personal Preferences of Persons with Dementia Predict Their Responses to Group Activities?

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: We examine the utility of individualizing activities for persons with dementia (PwD) on the basis of congruence with preferences. Previous studies demonstrated only limited evidence of individualization of activity content to improve response, tended not to consider group activities, or were inconclusive. Methods: Participants were 90 PwD residing in a nursing home or attending a day center. After family and staff caregivers rated preferences for music, exercise, reading, brain games, and baking, group activities were conducted, and the impact on mood and engagement was monitored. We tested whether participants showed more engagement and better mood when group activities were related to topics they liked, in comparison to topics they did not like (within-person analysis), and whether persons who liked certain topics showed better outcomes in comparison to persons who did not like those topics (between-person analyses). Results: Within-person analysis found a relationship between the report of liking the topic and engagement and mood during the group activity, confirming the benefit of individualizing activities to persons' preferences. Between-person analyses were statistically significant only when based on staff preference ratings. Conclusion: Despite the fact that each topic represents a wide range of possible activities, individualizing group activities based on participants' preferences can optimize the impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018


FundersFunder number
Rotman Family and the Morris Justein Visiting Scholars Program
Minerva Foundation31583295000


    • Congruence
    • Family caregivers
    • Formal caregivers
    • Informal caregivers
    • Leisure activities
    • Preferences
    • Therapeutic rehabilitation


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