A wide range of individuals are benefited by home care in Massachusetts. Clients from all walks of life and various needs rely on our services. Another healthcare field, which similarly helps a diverse group of patients, including those that our caregivers work with, is occupational therapy. Perhaps unexpectedly to some, occupational therapists can be a great support system for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Occupational therapy teaches clients who have physical, mental, or developmental conditions ways to perform and modify daily tasks for work and home life. The usefulness of such a type of therapy is often overlooked for patients with Alzheimer’s. The intention is to allow the individual to retain independence and be able to stay at home as long as possible; much like the goal of home care.
As the disease advances, memory loss and the ability to make sound decisions, as well as language problems and changes in personality, can create problems. Setting up the environment in a certain manner can lead to increased safety and success in daily living. Falls, injuries, and wandering, can be prevented while promoting independence.
Occupational Therapists observe clients with Alzheimer’s in their home so that they are able to make recommendation based on the person’s living situation. New routines may be created or old ones may be modified. Adaptive equipment can also be suggested to make certain activities easier.
Safety is one area that will be evaluated so that an appropriate plan can be made, but the therapy can also help caregivers and family members to maintain an emotional bond with the person. This can be difficult as language and cognitive thinking break down, but occupational therapists can determine what communication strategies will work best and suggest meaningful activities you can do together.
The American Occupational Therapy Association offers some advices on helping your loved one to live life safely with maximum engagement.
• Create step-by-step, clearly written signs to help the person with tasks, such as getting dressed or preparing food.
• Make dangerous medications, chemicals, appliances, and areas of the home inaccessible.
• Remove clutter and throw rugs that could lead to tripping.
• Provide good lighting in traffic areas of the home.
• Lock doors and windows to prevent wandering. A simple “Stop” sign may also help.
• Mirrors on doors that lead outside are unexpected and may help distract wanderers.
• Look at old photos and reminisce about past experience to stay connected.
• Utilize family members and home care agencies to take some time for yourself. Caregivers need to stay physically and mentally well too!
MAS Home Care of Massachusetts specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Call 508-459-2424 for a free in-home evaluation. You may also visit http://www.aota.org for more information about how occupational therapy can help your loved one.