The effect of multi-sensory ministry on the affect and engagement of women with dementia

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Individuals with dementia find it difficult to cognitively follow oral presentations of intangible concepts that are part of most traditional worship experiences. Although anecdotal reports of non-cognitive methods of ministry are found in the literature, alternative forms of worship for people who have dementia have seldom been systematically studied. This research compared the effects of two multi-sensory methods of ministry with a traditional ministry method on the affect and engagement of women with dementia.Twenty-four participants were each presented three forms of worship. Trained observers recorded the number of seconds of observable pleasure (affect) and alertness (engagement) during 10-minute presentations. There was a difference at the .05 confidence level between the traditional ministry visit and the two multi-sensory methods of ministry on measures of pleasure and alertness. No effect for either presentation order or observer was found. Multi-sensory tools had a positive influence on the observable experience of participants in this study.

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