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Therapy for the Alzheimer’s Patient

Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia can make life difficult for patients and their families, but using various types of therapy can improve the lives of those impacted by the disease. Patients are often referred for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and/or Speech Therapy as these different types of therapy can treat the symptoms of the progressive disease, which affects about 5 million Americans annually.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists use exercise in ways that can improve a person’s memory while helping manage symptoms onset and progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This can improve the patient’s ability to perform daily activities through the following:

Task breakdown: Simple directions are given for quick body movements to help the patient get out of bed or sitting down on a chair.
Mirroring: The therapist stands in front of the patient, demonstrating proper movement so it can be duplicated.
Hand-over-hand facilitation: Taking the patient’s hand or body part and moving it through a complete movement so they can see how it’s done.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists can assist Alzheimer’s patients in a wide variety of ways, as the American Occupational Therapy Association notes.
Occupational Therapy can help patients live more independently, keep them safe by teaching them how to avoid falls, and it can even help prevent wandering.

Speech Pathology

Southeastern Med’s speech therapists can help Alzheimer’s patients with not only their ability to communicate but with brain stimulation to facilitate memory improvement. They can also focus on appropriate swallowing, which often becomes a problem as the disease progresses. Swallowing issues can cause a person to aspirate food into their lungs leading to pneumonia and other pulmonary issues.

Speech therapy strives to help individuals feel less isolated and anxious while improving their sense of dignity and self-worth after the diagnosis.

Patients who receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia do not have to stand by passively allowing the disease to rule them. There are treatment options such as physical, occupational and speech therapy.

For more information on Southeastern Med’s therapy services, call us at 740.439.8977.

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