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Nature and dementia: development of a person-centered approach

  • Iris H. Hendriks (a1), Deliane van Vliet (a2), Debby L. Gerritsen (a2) and Rose-Marie Dröes (a1)



The aim of this study is to develop and try out an approach for personalized nature activities for people with dementia.


A qualitative descriptive study using focus group interviews with people with dementia was conducted. Based on the results of the focus groups and the relevant literature, the approach was developed. In a qualitative descriptive pilot study with a one-group design, we tried out the approach regarding acceptability and experience of the intervention among people with dementia, and satisfaction with the approach among healthcare professionals. Additionally, we investigated the organizational feasibility.


From the focus groups, eight key aspects of experiencing nature were identified as being important for quality of life (e.g. relaxation, freedom), as well as six categories of preferred activities (e.g. active, passive, and social activities). Based on these themes and categories, an approach was developed to design nature activities according to the personal wishes, needs, and experiences of people with dementia. During the intervention, participants in the pilot study showed high levels of positive behaviors and low levels of negative behaviors. As regards, organizational feasibility, eight themes for successful implementation of nature activities were identified.


This exploratory study contributes to the knowledge regarding the development and implementation of person-centered nature activities for people with dementia. The implementation of the activities could be improved by training professionals in person-centered care. The effect of the person-centered nature activities approach should be investigated.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Iris H. Hendriks, Department of Psychiatry, VUmc GGZ-inGeest dienst onderzoek en innovatie, Overschiestraat 57, Postbus 74077, 1070 BB Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Phone: +31-20-7885051; Fax: +31-20-7885454. Email:,


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Nature and dementia: development of a person-centered approach

  • Iris H. Hendriks (a1), Deliane van Vliet (a2), Debby L. Gerritsen (a2) and Rose-Marie Dröes (a1)


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