Colorado State University, USA
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: ipjnn
Statement of the Problem: Best practices in dementia care recognize the importance of positive emotional experiences and participation in meaningful activities to support quality of life. While activities involving gardens and horses may support quality of life for people living with dementia, little is known about how they may be similar and different. The purpose of this study: This study aimed to provide a fine-grain description and comparison of how people with dementia responded to opportunities to participate in adaptive gardening and adaptive riding and horsemanship activities. Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: Eight people living with dementia self-selected into one of two complementary interventions, community-based adaptive gardening (n = 4) or adaptive riding (n = 4), in Northern Colorado. Both occurred for hour-long, weekly sessions for eight-weeks. A descriptive case study design enabled in-depth description and comparison of participation and emotional well-being, two quality of life indicators, observed during four videotaped sessions of adaptive gardening and adaptive riding using systematic behavioral observations. Applying an environmental perspective of quality of life, systematic behavioral observations were documented using the Activity-in-Context-in-Time on 31 hours of video-taped data. Durations for each quality of life indicator were averaged per participant and aggregated by group for comparison using a Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney U test. Findings: Both intervention supported emotional well-being and participation, yet longer durations of active participation and significantly higher durations of complex participation were observed during adaptive riding (U = 16, p= 0.029). Conclusion & Significance: Both interventions supported quality of life. Adaptive riding appeared to support longer durations of active participation with more complex forms when compared to adaptive gardening. Findings can inform healthcare providers’ recommendations for adaptive gardening and adaptive riding for people living with dementia. More research is needed with a larger sample size to further distinguish similarities and differences.