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How does a therapist work with someone who has dementia?

Providing physical or occupational therapy to any patient can provide challenges, as each person and each set of circumstances are different.  Providing therapy to patients with dementia offers an even greater set of possible challenges.  People with dementia require specialized care and attention, as their ability to grasp and retain information of any type is changed by the disease process taking place within their brain.  


Providing therapy to a person with dementia requires several adaptations in the way services are rendered; offering more instruction to the patient is one of the ways this can be accomplished.  One technique is to break down each step of a larger process to smaller more manageable steps, increasing the likelihood that the information will be retained.  Using repetition to teach new skills is another way to provide more information.  Making use of visual cues will help to provide triggers or reminders that can be used once in the home setting. 

These are just a few of the ways that a specifically trained therapist will adapt their treatment style to meet the different needs of people with dementia.  It takes a very compassionate therapist to provide care to these very special people. 


Carry-over of these newly learned skills is crucial in making a successful transition back home.  Once a person with dementia has received physical or occupational therapy from a therapist that uses adaptive techniques the home care giver can then be trained to utilize these same methods in helping the affected person.  By setting up triggers or reminders, instructions are less easily forgotten.  Making the caregiver aware of these reminders will increase the likelihood of carry-over occurring in the home setting. 

The main goal in providing therapy to people with dementia is safety above all.  Using special techniques and therapists who have a specific understanding of how dementia works, will increase the likelihood that a smooth transition back to home will occur.  Avoiding dangerous situations and perilous conditions can be achieved with cooperation and communication between the therapist, family members and caregivers.  


At Allegiance Home Health and Rehab, “We pledge our allegiance to you.” We provide your loved ones with services custom designed to fit their individual needs. Our trained caregivers fully comprehend the condition and personality of the patient, providing them options to choose from various activities that include going on short walks, reading to them, and accompanying them to the store. 

If you are interested in hiring an aide for your mother or father, you can call us right away for a consultation. Click here to sign up for our free Newsletter and receive an exclusive report on “Suggestions for Successful Home Care Placement.” We look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!

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