Paint expressions : effects of an art program on cognition, quality of life, communication, and behavior for individuals with dementia
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Dementia is a disease that has impacted 35 million people around the world. With that number expected to double in 20 years, researchers have been investigating multiple options to reverse or slow the cognitive decline and/or promote positive health outcomes. Although pharmacological interventions have been shown to slow the deterioration rate in dementia, such medications do not cure the underlying disease, nor has their effectiveness and safety been empirically established. Therefore, many researchers have turned their focus towards non-pharmacological interventions, such as cognitive stimulation, designed to maximize and/or maintain functional cognitive abilities for individuals with dementia. One example of cognitive stimulation is the utilization of creative arts. Although participation in arts-based activities has been shown to benefit individuals with dementia, few widely used, quantitative outcome measures exist for this purpose. Therefore, in this study we implemented a communication-based arts program for three individuals with dementia, and examined subsequent, quantitative indicators of cognition, quality of life, communication, and behavior in a single-subject across multiple subjects ABA design.