THRIVE – Group therapy sessions for the elderly

At MC Occupational Therapy, we have a passion for promoting quality of life and enabling our clients to participate in daily and leisure activities that are meaningful. Our treatment is client-centred. We use a holistic approach- meaning we take into account the physical, mental, emotional and psychosocial levels of functioning for all our clients.

Through our observation and clinical experiences, we have recognized that the elderly need emotional support, cognitive stimulation and opportunities for social interaction with others. Studies have shown that most elderly suffer from isolation and depression, functional difficulties and their social networks becoming smaller. As Occupational Therapists, we would like to empower our communities and assist our clients in overcoming their logistical challenges in their environments- this is where THRIVE sessions for the elderly comes in.

When did THRIVE start?

In 2017, an individual assessment was conducted for an elderly client with major depressive disorder. On arrival, the client appeared tearful, overwhelmed and despondent to any form of social interaction with the therapist. When considering her treatment plan, we found that she would benefit from OT intervention in a group setting, where she has the opportunity to indirectly interact with others to build social relationships as well as engage in cognitive and creative tasks that would promote her mood and daily purpose.

A group therapy programme was implemented where she engaged in weekly group activities with other elderly with psychological or physical conditions (Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Arthritis; Anxiety and Depressive Disorder). Over time, it was very rewarding to see the positive change in the client’s emotional and behavioural responses. This change was evident when the client often arrived early for group therapy sessions and was usually the last person to leave. She also got involved in cleaning the group area, helping others during activities and socially interacted with others during sessions.

From observing her positive response to the group therapy programme and the added value group therapy offered to the other attendees in the group, we identified a need to further provide cognitive stimulation and opportunities for social interaction to elderly within the community, thereby promoting their quality of life.

What do the sessions entail?

THRIVE, in association with MC Occupational Therapy, provides group therapy services for the elderly within the community. Each group therapy session aims to:

  • Provide the elderly with the opportunity for social interaction and social engagement with others.
  • Promote physical level of functioning, namely improve muscle strength, coordination and hand function through participation in physical activities.
  • Provide cognitive stimulation that promotes concentration, memory and executive skills.
  • Promote positive mood and self-esteem through participation in a variety of activities.

Staff involved

Kate Roux
Kate Roux is the Project Manager of the Thrive Group Therapy sessions. She has a great passion for providing Occupational Therapy services for older clients with neurological conditions. Kate provides practical recommendations for home adaptations to people who have experienced a stroke, traumatic brain injury or arthritis.
To learn more about Kate, please visit her page.

Dinah Mnguni
Our group therapy sessions are also facilitated by our Occupational Therapists as well as our Occupational Therapy Assistant, Dinah Mnguni. Dinah has been working with us since September 2019. She is full of creativity and positive energy and has added tremendous value during our group therapy programmes.
To find out more about Dinah Mnguni, please visit her page.