Comparing the care environment at farm-based and regular day care for people with dementia in Norway-An observational study

L.H. Ellingsen-Dalskau*, B. de Boer, I. Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


People with dementia should be able to live in the community, and day care services are recommended as a means for people to live in their own homes for as long as possible. In this study we wanted to compare the quality of care at one type of small-scale day care situated at community farms to regular day care provided in connection with residential care facilities for elderly people. A total of 42 participants from 10 farm-based day care offers and 46 participants from seven regular day care offers were included. A qualitative observational design using the validated Maastricht Electronic Daily Life Observation tool was used. The data were collected between March and June 2018. Ecological momentary assessments of the activities taking place, level of engagement, physical effort, location, social interaction and mood were conducted while the participants attended their day care offer. The results showed that familiar daily activities were common at farm-based day care, and a linear mixed model analysis showed that farm-based day care attendees used more physical effort, spent more time outdoors, had more social interaction and experienced more positive mood compared to regular day care attendees. These findings contribute with valuable information about care provided at different types of day care services, and indicate that farm-based day care has more activities with the potential to meet the social and activity needs of people with dementia compared to regular day care. There are two main implication of this study. First, regular day care services should focus on including more familiar daily activities found to be important for attendees' sense of identity and feelings of contributing. Second, regular day care services should utilise the potential of available outdoor areas as time spent outdoors has been found to facilitate physical activity, relaxation, health and well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-514
Number of pages9
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • association
  • care farms
  • day care
  • dementia
  • gardens
  • medlo-tool
  • nursing-homes
  • person-centred care
  • physical-activity
  • quality of care
  • quality-of-life
  • MEDLO-tool

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