Absolutely. Although it would seem that a peer support group program could not work with those with moderate to severe cognitive impairment, research has shown that using elements of the program in a more concrete way is very successful. Almost all participants in the study had some form of cognitive impairment and close to half had moderate to severe cognitive impairment. Even those with indicators of severe cognitive impairment revealed that they were comfortable in the groups even though their communication skills were limited. They were able to respond to concrete questions, engage with the music and remain attentive to the sharing as it went around the group. Even though some group members wandered in and out during the sessions, they were still able to actively participate.
We have now developed a special version of Java Music Club called Java Memory Care. It’s also called Java Time on materials used in the groups to avoid the stigma that may be attached to “Memory Care”. The program has more training, more techniques for engaging residents that may be non-verbal, and discussion topics that are less abstract and discussion questions that are more direct. There’s more info at Java Memory Care
It’s entirely possible to use Java Music Club with those with advanced dementia, the Java Memory Care program is just an adaptation that provides more training and tools. We recommend using Java Music Club for the general or mixed population and Java Music Club primarily in secure or special care. Some communities purchase Java Memory Care as a second Java program to help relieve scheduling pressure with the Java Music Club materials as the number of groups increases. Please get in touch if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org