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Meaningful Lifestyle Activities

Australian aged care residents spend over 45 per cent of their day sitting alone in their rooms, often engaging in limited social interactions and very little activity. In a 2022 survey, the aged care workforce nominated ‘meaningful lifestyle activities’ as a priority topic for the sector. The Knowledge and Implementation Hub has therefore gathered evidence to help the aged care workforce understand the importance of engagement in meaningful lifestyle activities.

Understanding meaningful lifestyle activities

For older adults, meaningful lifestyle activities may be those they are familiar with, have participated in, and often depend on their personal preferences and identity. In residential aged care, meaningful activities are considered as those that are enjoyable and engaging and which provide benefits in emotional, cognitive, and physical wellbeing. Providing opportunities for older adults to participate in activities they consider ‘meaningful’ can be somewhat complex. One activity will not appeal to all and activities should be tailored to suit an individual. Components that should be considered when providing meaningful activities are presented in Figure 1.

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Meaningful activities for older adults living with dementia model

Figure 1: Meaningful activity for older adults living with dementia model.
Source: Tierney L, Beattie E. Enjoyable, engaging and individualised: A concept analysis of meaningful activity for older adults with dementia. Int J Older People Nurs. 2020 Jun;15(2):e12306. doi: 10.1111/opn.12306. Reproduced by permission of John Wiley and Sons.

Meaningful Lifestyle Activities

The Knowledge and Implementation Hub has brought together the research evidence on meaningful lifestyle activities in aged care with Australian online learning, practice tools and resources. This involved:

  1. A rapid scoping review of published systematic reviews revealed the main ‘evidence themes’ important for meaningful lifestyle activities in aged care. 
  2. An environmental scan of online resources in diverse formats such as videos, handbooks, and downloadable information sheets. 
  3. Themes and resources were discussed with our Evidence Advisory Group who were active in identifying the areas of focus and needs for the Australian Aged Care sector.

This work was guided by an advisory group of clinical and research experts with expertise in the topic and experience in the aged care sector. 

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