New paper on using ‘Adaptive Interaction’ with people with dementia

My Blog this week is pointing you [yes, you the reader] to a new, open i.e. free to access paper on ‘Using Adaptive Interaction to Simplify Caregiver’s Communication with People with Dementia Who Cannot Speak‘ (in Frontiers in Communication, Jan 2022).

This paper, by psychologists Arlene Astell, Sarah Shoaran and Maggie Ellis, sets out the case for using the Adaptive Interaction approach (derived from, and thus a very close cousin in methodological terms to Intensive Interaction) with people with dementia who can no longer speak.

This paper sets out a recognition that caregivers can often find it difficult to sociably interact with people with late-stage dementia. Adaptive Interaction (the very close cousin of Intensive Interaction) is identified as a simplified ‘social inclusion process’ that uses the ‘fundamentals of communication’ (as identified in Intensive Interaction; see Hewett et al, 2012) to sociably connect with such people.

The paper reports on how 6 caregivers were each paired with one individual with dementia and trained in Adaptive Interaction. It was shown that, after receiving the training, the caregivers were able to identify more communicative behaviours in those they cared for, and thus engaged in more frequent and more positive social interactions with them.

As the authors report in their conclusions:

Caregivers were able to use Adaptive Interaction (AI) to learn the language of the individuals they care for and adopt nonverbal strategies to connect with them … These findings support the utility of AI to elucidate even the most subtle communicative behaviours’.

‘The findings also suggest an increase in the quality of communication as indicated by more frequent positive social behaviours and meaningful actions such as eye gaze, turn-taking and initiating physical contact by both partners in the interactions’.

Adaptive Interaction could be a useful tool for improving the quality of life and wellbeing of people living with advanced dementia who can no longer speak by providing a means of enhancing caregiving relationships. This in turn could improve the job satisfaction and feelings of competence of the people who care for them‘.

You can read the full paper (free at the point of interest/need – what a great idea that is!) by following this link: https://doi.org/10.3389/fcomm.2021.689439

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