To react or not to react: that is the question. Findings from a drama workshop with the elderly certified for nursing care/support

Talk Code: 
Atsushi Yamamori (1)
Kentaro Okazaki (2) , Noriyuki Takahashi (2) , Mina Suematsu (2) , Masafumi Kuzuya (2)
Author institutions: 
(1) Nagoya University School of Medicine, (2) Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine


In recent years, it has been advocated that emotional stimuli can be significant for the support of the elderly in a day care center. According to the recent study, joining a drama as actors is said to make the elderly be psychologically satisfied and stimulate the emotional component of their brains. These days, some people hold unique participatory-style drama workshop with elderly people (DWE) at a day care center. Since DWE is quite a new project, its characteristics are not fully investigated. In this study, we aim to clarify features of DWE in qualitative method.


We held DWE at the day care center in Kyoto, Japan in 2017. Under the guidance of 3 drama teachers who were professional actors/actresses, 10 or so elderly people in their 70s to 90s took part in this program. DWE consisted of 4 sessions, once a week, once in 1 hour. Final session would be a presentation of the drama with the audience invited. Then, we performed three focus groups on the director of this DWE, drama teachers and nursing care staff of the day care center, respectively. After the focus groups, we examined the recorded interview qualitatively using SCAT (Steps for Coding and Theorization) which is a qualitative analysis method established by Ohtani in 2011.


Characteristics of DWE were categorized as follows: 1) Consideration for elderly people (Drama teachers should understand what elderly people can physically/mentally do and what they cannot do.); 2) Participation in ‘’Action-reaction training’’ (Every activity in DWE aims to encourage participants to respond to remarks of other participants and drama teachers. The drama which was presented in final session is the most complicated form of ‘’Action-Reaction training’’.); 3) Motivation of participants (Participants can enjoy DWE in various ways, such as singing songs in the play, wearing colorful costumes as actors/actresses, and doing action using properties with sound effects); 4) Revitalization of communication skills (Continuous participation in DWE can make the elderly’s reaction to others more sophisticated and can reactivate the elderly's ability to communicate with others.)


DWE cleverly stimulates the communication skills of the elderly by making use of entertainment of drama. Drama teachers should organize the workshop considering the limit of the elderly’s ability. In addition, teachers need to establish intimate relationship with participants so as to carry out activities effectively in the workshop. By overcoming these two difficulties, participants can fully enjoy the drama workshop with going through "Action-Reaction training". This program help the elderly enjoy the everyday communication and may improve their emotional health.

Submitted by: 
Atsushi Yamamori
Funding acknowledgement: