Occupational therapy is a valuable tool for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Though it does not provide a cure, early intervention can help delay progression of disease symptoms, improve function and prolong independence.
The occupational therapist will first evaluate the patient to determine strengths and impairments. Throughout the stages of dementia, the therapy approach will change to meet the evolving needs of the patient and caregivers.
The individual may have difficulty with higher-level executive skills, and may be referred to an occupational therapist for driving, work and home safety evaluation. Therapy may include a wellness and fall prevention program, plus caregiver instruction and support.
The focus changes to home safety and helping the patient stay involved in personally meaningful tasks.
With the individual having increasing difficulty with basic activities of daily living, the focus will shift to reducing the caregiver’s burden and enhancing basic care as well as providing enjoyable sensory stimulation.
At Lutheran Life Villages, our on-staff occupational therapists provide a specialized dementia care program that recognizes and reinforces use of the dementia patients’ remaining abilities to help them reach their highest functional level.
If your loved one is living with dementia, talk to your doctor and learn how occupational, as well as other therapies, can help improve function and quality of life.