Iki Iki Lessons For Everyone

For those with mild-to-moderate dementia, has a universal appeal for any culture. The program represents a first-hand application of person-centered care and approaches to those living with dementia.

As with most program approaches focused on connecting in meaningful ways with the person with dementia, traditional methods and existing resources compromise the degree of success. Instead, the Iki Iki concept utilizes principles we already know, but organizes and presents it in a different manner.

From a recreationists perspective, there are three key take-aways we can glean from the Iki Iki approach:

  1. We must “dig deep” to learn as much as we can about the person hiding behind the dementia. With a comprehensive picture into the person’s background, interests, language, customs, etc., we are more likely able to find the connections that will resonate with the person now.
  2. Think beyond traditional “programmed events” – be prepared with multiple resources through which one might be able to connect with the person, and “go with the flow” as exhibited by the person.
  3. Use your professional time to develop insights into how best to connect with the person, and then invest time in cultivating an informed, skilled and committed core of volunteers to implement what you have learned. Over time, listen to your volunteers, and encourage them to share and add to your collective wisdom of “connectiveness” with the person.

As recreationists, we must accept that we cannot “own” programming, and that creating programs for large groups cannot be our primary purpose. As programming leaders, we must be prepared to reach our clients with dementia by utilizing and sharing our expertise in order to spread limited resources as far as possible.

Article: Each senior is a ‘star’ at Nikkei Home’s Japanese-influenced dementia program

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