Marike Coetzee studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Stellenbosch. She graduated in 2012 and has been involved in the elderly care sector for 4 years. She has been working at Livewell since 2017 and is responsible for ensuring that the residents living with dementia enjoy the best quality of life possible. This month we chatted to Marike about day care for those living with dementia.

What is the benefit of day care for someone living with dementia?

Day care is beneficial for several reasons. Day care patients are able to receive stimulation during the day, which can help to maintain their independence for as long as possible. They can also interact with others – preventing loneliness and boredom. Dementia day or holiday care also gives the family peace of mind knowing that their loved one is supervised and occupied during the day. They receive balanced and healthy meals, ensuring optimal nutrition.

What sort of stimulation do people living with dementia need?

People with dementia often become socially isolated and lonely. Loneliness is said to be one of the main factors in depression in the elderly and therefore they need social interaction. Further it has been proven that cognitive stimulation can maintain and enhance cognitive functioning, which is critical to maintain independence. Physical stimulation improves muscle strength, especially in the core muscles. This in turn improves balance and prevent falls. Falls are the number one cause of death in adults over 65. At Livewell we target those domains.

This sort of stimulation often lacks when someone is being cared for at home, how can day and holiday care help in this regard?

Families are often unable to provide adequate stimulation for their loved one with dementia at home. They often do not know how to occupy the person with dementia in a meaningful way. As mentioned above, they can become socially isolated and lonely. Day care addresses these problems.

How well do people integrate with other residents when they visit Livewell for day care?

The day care residents go on excursions with the full-time residents and often form friendships with them. They are also paired with like-minded people at the dining table to ensure that they are able to interact with others on a social level. Overall they integrate quite well.

It must be difficult building a connection with someone that visits Livewell only for a short stay before going home to their families, do you keep in touch and follow up to see how the person is doing?

The Quality of Life Leaders keep in contact with families to provide feedback about the wellbeing of the day care resident. They share photos of their activities to provide peace of mind. All residents, including the ones only visiting for a short stay, are treated like family and feedback to their loved ones is crucial.

If you would like to find our more about the day care offering from Livewell, please visit