Rehabilitation in Action Through the Progression of Dementia

Rehabilitation in Action Through the Progression of Dementia

Kensington Place Redwood City is proud to present the virtual zoom event Rehab In Action With HealthPro Heritage. HealthPro Heritage is our community partner and regional leader in therapy services. 

This educational event will be held on November 9th, 2021, at 3 pm PST. If your senior loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you won’t want to miss this event. You will learn about different types of rehabilitation and how whole-person wellness improves a senior’s quality of life. 

As dementia progresses, your senior loved one will likely need more care, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Learning where to receive these services and how they can help your loved one is your first step in getting them the help they need. 

Deciding when to transition your loved one can be difficult, but knowing that they will be moving to a community that cares for them and offers the treatment and therapies they need can ease your mind. 

Causes of dementia

There are many causes of dementia, some that are reversible and others that are progressive. For those that are progressive, seniors may need multiple types of treatments and therapies to help them. 

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia that is caused by a build-up of the two proteins beta-amyloid and tau. 

Huntington’s disease 

Huntington’s is a genetic disease that is not curable. Over time the disease progresses and affects one’s memory, thinking, emotional state, and movement. 

Parkinson’s disease

With a drop in the chemical dopamine in the brain, symptoms of Parkinson’s begin to appear. Though, those with memory loss due to Parkinson’s may also have Lewy bodies in their brain as well. 

Lewy body disease

Lewy bodies are abnormal balloon-like clumps of a protein called Alpha-synuclein protein, and this is the protein found in the brains of people with this progressive type of dementia.

Vascular dementia

Memory loss, strokes, and damage to the white matter fibers in the brain develop when there is damage to the vessels that supply blood to the brain.

Frontotemporal dementia

When there is a breakdown of nerve cells and their connections in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, a loss of function occurs in these regions. Seniors will suffer from memory loss and show changes in their behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, and language. 

Mixed dementia

This type of dementia is most common in seniors that are 80 years and older. It occurs when a senior develops more than one type of dementia. 

Infections

Often those who develop dementia due to an infection will only have short-term dementia, and their symptoms will clear up as soon as their condition has been treated. 

A few common infections that lead to dementia are: 

  • Herpes
  • Pneumonia
  • Spirochete bacteria 
    • Syphilis
    • Lyme disease
    • Gum disease

Treatments for dementia

Depending on the progression of your senior loved ones’ dementia and what symptoms they are displaying, there are many treatment options available. 

Medication to change dementia progression

Medication to treat cognitive symptoms

  • Donepezil (Aricept)
    • It helps seniors with their confusion and may improve their memory and awareness. 
  • Galantamine (Razadyne)
    • Increases chemicals in the brain that are needed for memory and thought. May help seniors think and remember while slowing down their memory loss.
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon)
    • Used for dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. It does not cure or slow down the progression of the disease but may improve thinking ability. 
  • Memantine (Namenda)
    • Used for moderate to severe forms of dementia. It will not cure the disease, but it may improve memory, awareness, and your senior’s ability to perform daily functions. 

Medication to treat psychological and behavioral symptoms

  • Sleep aids
    • Suvorexant 
  • Mood stabilizers
    • Lithium
    • Valproate
    • Carbamazepine
    • Oxcarbazepine
    • Lamotrigine
    • Clozaril
    • Haldol
    • Seroquel
    • Zyprexa
  • Antidepressants
    • Sertraline
    • Citalopram
    • Mirtazapine
    • Trazodone
  • Anti-anxiety drugs
    • Lorazepam
    • Oxazepam
    • Abilify
    • Risperdal

Types of therapy 

Depending on the progression of your senior’s dementia, there is a variety of therapies to offer some relief from symptoms and comfort.

Occupational therapy

An occupational therapist can help seniors recognize their remaining abilities rather than trying to teach them new ones. Dementia patients may not be able to learn new skills, making it easier to work on the skills they still have. They may also help seniors and their caregivers learn how to address dementia symptoms, such as agitation, weight loss, and fall risks. 

Cognitive rehabilitation

Cognitive rehabilitation is tailored to each person, as each senior will have different needs. The goal is to help seniors and their families identify strategies aimed at improving cognitive function.

Music therapy

Seniors ith dementia can benefit from music as it lightens their mood and decreases agitation and anxiety. Music can also elicit memories and emotions linked to a senior’s past. 

Pet therapy

Pet therapy is also referred to as animal-assisted therapy. Research has shown that pets have a calming effect and improve moods and behavior. Pet therapy is also correlated with an increase in social interaction, physical activity, and improved nutrition. 

Art therapy

There are many benefits to art therapy. As it stimulates the brain, it helps boost cognitive functioning in brain regions that are used for communication and social interaction. 

Aromatherapy and massage therapy 

Stimulating the olfactory receptors stimulates the part of the brain involved in emotions. The different scents can help improve a seniors mood and reduce their anxiety and depression. 

When aromatherapy is used during a massage, it can be even more beneficial, as touching helps seniors become more aware of their bodies and build trust. 

Benefits of a community setting 

When your senior loved one moves to an assisted living or memory care community, they will not only move into a warm and cozy room but receive around-the-clock care and assistance. 

With a progression in their dementia, they will appreciate this environment with around-the-clock care.

Living in a community provides your senior loved one with safety, entertainment, socialization, and a chance to live their best life. 

As a caregiver, you benefit by having more time for self-care, hobbies, your career, and time to focus on the relationship with your loved one. Too often, when becoming a caregiver, the relationship between caregiver and loved one suffers.  

You and your senior loved one will both feel less stressed and anxious by allowing others to step in and help you. 

The Kensington Promise 

Transitioning your senior loved one to a community setting may be difficult to think about at first, but once you realize the benefits you and your loved one will receive you’ll feel much better about your decision. 

At Kensington Place Redwood City, Our Promise is to love and care for your senior as we would our own.

We offer compassion, attention, security, beautiful grounds, satisfactory dining services, and life enrichment activities. All of which are designed to help seniors with their dementia progression.

Our staff and on-site nurses will help your loved one feel comfortable, safe, and right at home.Contact us to learn more about our assisted living and memory care communities, on-site therapists, and other services and programs that we offer our residents and their families.

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