Understanding Capacity and Optimizing Meaningful Engagement among Persons Living with Dementia

Candace L. Kemp, Alexis A. Bender, Jennifer Craft Morgan, Elisabeth O. Burgess, Fayron R. Epps, Andrea Michelle Hill, Molly M. Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Meaningful engagement is a key dimension of quality of life among persons living with dementia, yet little is known about how to best to promote it. Guided by grounded theory methods, we present analysis of data collected over a 1-year period in four diverse assisted living (AL) communities as part of the study, “Meaningful Engagement and Quality of Life among Assisted Living Residents with Dementia.” Our aims are to: (a) learn how meaningful engagement is negotiated among AL residents with dementia and their care partners; and (b) identify how to create these positive encounters. Researchers followed 33 residents and 100 care partners (formal and informal) and used participant observation, resident record review, and semi-structured interviews. Data analysis identified “engagement capacity” as central to the negotiation of meaningful engagement. We conclude that understanding and optimizing the engagement capacities of residents, care partners, care convoys, and settings, are essential to creating and enhancing meaningful engagement among persons living with dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-874
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • care relationships
  • long-term care
  • meaningful engagement
  • qualitative research
  • quality of care
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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