Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory. Along with it, come problems with thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease symptoms first arise in their mid-60s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. This damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, the part of the brain crucial in developing memories. As neurons die, supplementary parts of the brain are impaired.
Initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include often repeating statements, losing items, difficulty finding names for familiar objects, becoming lost on familiar routes, and shifts in personality and emotional responses. Occupational therapists help people with Alzheimer’s disease to live life to its fullest by adapting to the environment and concentrating on what they can do to maximize engagement in activities.
Occupational therapists work with the person at home and suggest changes to make it more comfortable to do things independently, such as design new routines, alter existing routines, or add adaptive devices. The occupational therapist can also help a person to respond better to certain types of cueing and other communication strategies. Occupational therapists work with you to form a safety plan based on your needs. For example, the occupational therapist may ascertain how the person will safely obtain meals in the kitchen when no one is available to help.
Ask your physician for a referral to an occupational therapist who has expertise in working with those who have Alzheimer’s disease.
Weller, J., & Budson, A. (2018). Current understanding of Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and treatment. F1000Research, 7, F1000 Faculty Rev-1161. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.14506.1