Elder Dementia Therapies
Diagnosing and treating dementia in our elderly parents can be difficult. There are certain communication skills, or methods of approaching and speaking with an senior, which assist in connecting with elderly. But everyone is different, so there is no “one size fits all” approach
For example, there are many dementia therapies which help with behavior problems by simply increasing relaxation, reducing agitation, and improving mood.
Any of the following dementia treatment therapies may assist interactions with your elderly parents:
— Cognitive rehabilitation. This type of rehab helps people in the early stages of dementia. Rehab helps to maintain memory and cognitive function. It also teaches compensation strategies to help people with declining cognition.
— Physical activity. Over and over again, research shows that some kind of exercise helps us all. Seniors with dementia who have a regular, light exercise routine can better perform daily tasks. This will also result in improvements in mood and depression.
— Occupational therapy helps seniors with mild to moderate dementia by teaching coping behaviors. There are certain strategies to compensate for memory loss and cognitive decline. It can also help families make their home safer for a loved one with dementia and provide techniques to manage difficult behaviors.
— Music therapy. Listening to soothing music or singing songs can reduce agitation and aggression.
— Pet therapy. We’ve all seen people walking through airports with a therapy dog. Pets can help reduce anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, and loneliness. Many memory care communities actually provide a “pet resident”, often a dog or cat. Seniors in these communities can enjoy companionship without the responsibility of caring for a pet.
— Aromatherapy. Create a pleasant environment through the air we breathe. Aromas are safe and may relieve agitation. Lemon balm or lavender oil may be applied to the skin or sprayed in the air for a soothing environment that promotes relaxation.
— Massage therapy. May help to promote relaxation and mood change. Massage and touch therapy can help reduce agitation and encourage people with dementia to eat.
— Art therapy is believed to help slow cognitive decline and improve quality of life.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164