Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Catherine Sullivan,Ph.D., OTR/L


Occupational Therapy


The purpose of this study, conducted in collaboration with Kairos Alive! was to explore the importance of a creative arts dance and story-telling program for older adults living in senior congregate living facilities. This mixed-method study used a baseline-controlled semi-experimental design over a period of three months. The research questions were: (a) What is the experience of reminiscence and new memories in the arts-based program? and (b) What is the impact of the program on perceived overall quality of life? Quantitative tools included the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the SF-36 (physical and mental). Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews. Out of the 34 participants tested at baseline, 14 completed the study and met the participation criterion for analysis. Descriptive statistics show that participants’ MoCA scores were suggestive of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant improvement in memory scores (MoCA) following intervention, although the scores were still in the MCI range. Scores on the SF-36 did not result in clear improvements compared to baseline. The positive findings on memory show that a weekly arts-based program could improve memory in older adults who had scores suggestive of MCI. Qualitative results show that the program stimulated reminiscence and new memories, enhanced quality of life as well as fostered a feeling of community among residents.