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. 

Learn more about physical, occupational and speech therapy services at Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center. Patients are often referred for therapy as it can be used to 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

Patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia may experience decreased behavioral issues when they participate in occupational therapy sessions, according to a French study documented in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study observed more than 400 patients who each received 15 occupational therapy sessions for up to six months. This research showed quality of life increased, while behavioral problems and the burden on caregivers decreased. These benefits were most obvious when the disease was treated in its earlier stages.

Occupational therapy typically focuses on activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, and cooking to name a few. The goal is to help people remain as independent as long as possible.

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 740-439-8000.