Engaging Aging and Flow Theory

ECCA is your cheerleader for living an engaged life till the end of your life. Our staff measures participants’ engagement levels to ensure we offer opportunities that support quality of life and enjoyment. Flow theory influences our practice of person-centered care. You can assess your engagement by determining whether you are in the flow state.

Flow theory as introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (chik·sent·mee·hai·ee) in the 1970s and perhaps best described by Michele Biasutti, Ph.D., in his scientific journal in 2011:

“Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced flow theory in the 1970s based on research examining people who did activities for pleasure, even when they were not rewarded with money or fame. He considered artists, writers, athletes, chess masters, and surgeons – individuals who were involved in activities they preferred. He was surprised to discover that enjoyment did not result from relaxing or living without stress, but during these intense activities, in which their attention was fully absorbed. He called this state flow because, during his research, people illustrated their intense experiences using the metaphor of being carried by a current as a river flows.” (Biasutti, 2011)

Flow can best be described as being in the zone, in the groove, being on the ball, etc.. Csikszentmihalyi found that people are most productive when, or in the flow state of mind they are working rather than during free time. “In these activities, people were deeply involved and motivated because they were participating in an enjoyable experience.” Doing activities that require some skill and cognitive concentration makes it so that you can enter the flow state, whereas doing something passive, like watching TV or walking, does not get you in the flow state. Now watching TV and walking can have its flow state benefits, depending on the circumstances, but as stated, flow can be achieved through any cognitively stimulating activity.

Now how does this all relate to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? Well, most of our participants are engaged in activities like creative arts and music/expression. ECCA works to create an environment where participants feel calm, encouraged, and creative while giving them the opportunity and time to get engrossed in programming.

Check out the Facebook page to see what some of the fun things ECCA is up to with their participants! We often have guest visitors like our Virginia Tech Pony! Did you know that Virginia Tech had a pony?!

2024-04-17T17:22:23+00:00 April 17, 2024|ADS News|