Occupational Therapy — Can It Help With Dementia?
What exactly is occupational therapy? What does a therapist do?
The main purpose of occupational therapy is to help people regain their normal functions. It is very often practiced with other types of therapy, to give the patient a more complete therapy. Furthermore, this allows each person to receive the very best treatment. And one that is designed specifically for their needs.
Occupational therapy is used for people who may have lost the ability to perform certain, everyday tasks. These may be either due to illness, accident, or mental decline.
What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?
These duties are tailored to suit each patient’s needs. And the main goal of occupational therapy is to help patients regain lost abilities.
Therefore, the patient’s needs are assessed. And then a plan is designed. Now the therapist and the patient can work together to achieve the goals they desire. Additionally, both a short and long-term plan may be put in place. And it may include other therapy, like physical therapy.
Create a Personalized Plan
This plan compares the functioning levels a patient previously had to today’s levels. But for those living with dementia, the patient’s current capabilities will be considered.
The everyday tasks that people need help with will vary. But all are essential life skills. These may include bathing, cleaning, walking, cooking, dressing, socializing, household management, and more.
For someone who is living with dementia, these can be the very basics. Activities like bathing, personal hygiene, eating, mobility, and even communication. And this is the importance of individual plans.
Who Will Benefit?
The benefits of occupational therapy are long-reaching. Obviously, the patient will benefit, but so will everyone else. Family caregivers experience a lighter workload as their loved one is able to do more.
Staff members share the benefits of occupational therapy. It can be very taxing for staff when they have several patients to care for. So the more a patient can do for themselves, the easier everyone’s life will be.
Furthermore, occupational therapy is ideal for everyone. People with autism or attention and behavior concerns are helped. Also, people who can’t communicate, or have trouble concentrating can all benefit.
Occupational therapists assess people who have had strokes or accidents. Also, therapists help people with depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. And this helps them learn how to cope much better.
Occupational Therapy and Dementia
People living with dementia often need help with household management. Wandering off, personal care, and often, behavior problems are present.
An occupational therapist will assess the patient. And this will help to find out which areas the patient will benefit most from. These are difficult, as some functions that have gone will not return.
The therapist will design a plan that will help the patient adjust to their environment. And they often work with family members to help find ways for the patient to recognize others. And also to find better ways to communicate.
A move to a memory care home may involve the help of a therapist. The therapist can help dementia patients adjust to their new homes. Locations may need to be marked and their room may need special labels. Additionally, these all need to be taught all over again.
The therapist will be able to help family members better understand what is needed. And families learn from the therapist how to communicate with their loved ones. Furthermore, this helps make sure their loved one gets the right treatment and it is consistent.
It can be difficult for an occupational therapist to work with patients with dementia. Additionally, the patient may not recognize them every day. Thus the treatment and therapy must start all over again.
The patient may react badly by becoming upset, aggressive, or agitated. However, with the right assessment and constant care, the patient can become less resistant to the treatments.
Of course, each patient will be different. This can be very frustrating, as well. The same treatment will not work for each dementia patient. Plus, what worked for several weeks, or months, may stop as dementia worsens.
Occupational therapy is ideal for anyone who has had a physical setback, cognitive issues, or sensory problems.
And this therapy teaches life skills to those who need to relearn them. Additionally, it is non-invasive, designed for individual needs, and highly successful.
Some occupational Therapists like Teepa Snow specialize in dementia patients. Look for a therapist who enjoys working with and has experience with dementia patients.
We Are Here To Help
At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation.
Furthermore, the staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!