Dementia is a progressive neurological disease that can impact every aspect of a person’s life. Dementia affects not only the physical body but also the emotional and social aspects, too. There have been recent findings that dementia patients can see benefits from working with an occupational therapist. If you are wondering how an occupational therapist can assist your loved one with dementia, here are 6 ways occupational therapy has been found to help. Click To Tweet
Occupational Therapy and Dementia Treatment
Occupational therapists (OT) treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Here are six ways an occupational therapist can help improve your loved one’s life with dementia.
- Focus on Health Promotion
- Improve Functional Mobility
- Assist in Lifestyle Maintenance
- Create a Supportive Environment
- Reduce Behavioral Issues
- Lower Caregiver Burdens
1) Focus on Health Promotion
Occupational therapists focus on maintaining the strengths of their patients by promoting wellness and care of their clients. They work to enrich the lives of those suffering dementia by working with them in wellness activities that are preferred and the patients are able to achieve.
2) Improve Functional Mobility
OT practitioners help by incorporating daily exercise into the patient’s routine to help improve and build functional mobility and help restore range of motion, strength, and endurance.
3) Assist in Lifestyle Maintenance
Not only do occupational therapists help individuals with dementia stay active and exercise, but they also help assist them in maintaining their daily lifestyle in order to help prolong independence, whether they live at home or in an assisted living community.
4) Create a Supportive Environment
The main goal of occupational therapy is to ensure safe and supportive environments. This is achieved through verbal cueing, personal assistance, and other social supports. They work to help keep your loved one socialized and done in an encouraging atmosphere.
5) Reduce Behavioral Issues
Those suffering dementia can become frustrated by what used to be easy tasks. When patients with dementia cannot carry out tasks they know they should be able to perform, it can lead to embarrassment or anxiety. OT can reduce the stress and diminish crises with the assistance the therapist provides to the patient.
6) Lower Caregiver Burdens
Occupational therapists can advise caregivers on how to minimize conflict, and also provide help with the patient, lessening the amount of care needed from a caregiver.
ProTip: A recent study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that occupational therapy can lower the burden on caregivers and reduce the amount of care dementia patients need.
Occupational Therapy and Dementia
While occupational therapists can’t currently fix a person’s dementia and cognitive performance, it can help improve function through remediation or compensatory strategies. Not only do they help enhance function and promote wellness and socialization, but they also help educate and offer help caregivers with the support they need.
Contact us to learn more about how occupational therapy can assist those suffering from dementia.