It’s true that there’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t treatments available to help improve quality of life and potentially slow the progression of the disease. The treatments most doctors turn to first include rehabilitation and therapy, which can help those with Alzheimer’s or dementia boost their moods and cope with cognitive decline. Communities like Kensington Place Redwood City can even provide on-site memory care rehabilitation.
In a recent Zoom webinar, Dr. Atrac Kay and Dr. Denise Mohess discussed how to identify when your loved one needs rehabilitation, the tools for success, and the benefits. Read on to learn more about the information and tips presented in the meeting.
The Event: Redefining Rehabilitation in Dementia Care
Dr. Atrac Kay, a neurologist with INOVA, and Dr. Denise Mohess, who specializes in geriatric medicine with INOVA, recently spoke to the Redwood City community about rehabilitation and therapy as treatments for memory loss.
The virtual event, hosted by Kensington Place and HealthPRO Heritage, aimed to help the Redwood City community understand when their loved one might need rehabilitation, and how it can support them.
The doctors discussed the difficulties your loved one may face as they go through rehabilitation, and how they can experience the greatest success with the treatments.
What rehabilitation looks like for Alzheimer’s and dementia
Rehabilitation and therapy for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia can range from cognitive therapy to music and massage therapy. These treatments target different purposes, such as maintaining cognitive function or reducing anxiety and depression, but the main goal is to maintain quality of life for as long as possible.
Based on your loved one’s unique needs, their doctor will recommend the type of therapy or rehabilitation that will best target these areas.
There’s growing evidence that dementia symptoms can be delayed or minimized with prescribed physical therapy and exercise. You may not initially link physical therapy to cognitive impairment, but physical activity can help protect the brain from further decline.
Physical therapy activities that increase strength and balance will help prevent falls as well. Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia are at a higher risk for falls due to issues with balance and attention.
A speech-language pathologist can help a person with dementia work on everything from attention to problem solving. The goal is to help your loved one remain as independent as possible.
They will show your loved one how to use tools such as memory books or written words and pictures to aid with tasks, practice learning important information with them, and train family members and caregivers on how to communicate better.
Speech-language pathologists also can help with safe eating and swallowing practices, which can include eating in different ways or trying different types of foods.
The most frequently used intervention by occupational therapists for those with dementia is modification, which is used to create and ensure safe and supportive environments.
These environments are created through adaptive or compensative means, such as verbal cues, social supports, or personal assistance. Other types of occupational therapy interventions include:
- Health promotion through maintaining client strengths and the health of their caregivers
- Routine exercises for help with daily living tasks, and restoring range of motion and endurance
- Maintenance of habits and routines
It’s never too early or too late to begin therapy when a loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia — all activities will work to help maintain joy and quality of life.
How to tell if your loved one needs memory care rehabilitation
As your loved ones age, be aware of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some common early signs include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Losing or misplacing things
- Mood and personality changes
If you begin to notice these signs or other health changes, encourage your loved one to visit their doctor. Their doctor can evaluate them and ensure these changes are not due to another underlying condition.
Once diagnosed, you can work with the doctor to determine the best types of rehabilitation or therapy for your loved one in order to maintain quality of life and potentially slow the progression of the disease.
Sometimes, moving a loved one to a memory care community soon after their diagnosis can be the best option. The right community will be a loving support for you and your loved one, and on-site rehabilitation services will ensure your loved one has the resources they need — all within reach.
Frequently asked questions about memory care rehabilitation
Caregivers and families often have many questions about memory care rehabilitation, the purpose, and the benefits. Experts are constantly learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, so it’s understandable that families would have questions about unfamiliar treatments and suggestions.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
How can rehabilitation help my loved one with dementia?
Rehabilitation can help your loved one maintain maximum independence at any stage of the disease. While rehabilitation often is thought of in terms of physical injuries, it has been found to be equally as beneficial for those with cognitive impairments.
With rehabilitation or therapy, the purpose is to evaluate your loved one as an individual, with varying needs and abilities. Based on their current strengths and areas of improvement, these professionals can help an individual achieve whatever goals are important to them, whether it be maintaining physical strength and abilities, improving everyday functioning, assisting with social skills and communication, or addressing anxiety and behaviors.
How will rehabilitation help caregivers to better support their loved ones?
Certain types of rehabilitation or therapy can offer support to the caregiver as well, which, in turn, will help them better support their loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Assisting caregivers and families with communication techniques, providing suggestions for ways the home can better accommodate their loved ones, and teaching caregivers about their own wellness needs are some of the ways rehabilitation services can support the caregiver.
Managing expectations is another important factor — since Alzheimer’s and dementia have no known cure, these health professionals must provide realistic goals and clear communication surrounding the treatments.
How can a memory care community benefit my loved one?
Not all memory care communities are created the same. It’s important to find a community that specializes in memory care and has created safe spaces to accommodate your loved one’s unique needs.
The right community is focused on the individuals, and maintaining their joys and comforts. At Kensington Place Redwood City, health care professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with on-site rehabilitation and therapy so your loved one will always be safe and supported from their own home.
Memory care ensures the wellbeing of your loved ones, and is properly accommodated in ways that aren’t possible for at-home care.
How Kensington Place Redwood City supports those in need of memory care
Kensington Place Redwood City has two memory care neighborhoods: Connections and Haven. Connections supports residents in the early to middle stages of dementia, while Haven supports residents in the middle to late stages.
Our Promise at Kensington Place is to love and care for your family as we do our own. This promise lives in everything we do — from the cozy and safe living spaces to dining services and enrichment activities.
Above all else, it lives in the loving care our team provides to residents. We not only are trained professionals — we excel in helping residents and their families find beauty in special moments, and in providing comfortable and peaceful moments ahead.
Contact our team today to learn more about how our memory care community can provide the right services and care for your loved one.