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Occupational Therapy Intervention is a Family Affair

By Janie L. Rosman, Staff Writer
(Page 4 of 6)

“Analyze a task by looking at what memory a person needs to do the next step,” Glantz says. “He or she may need to be reminded what to do with the food since some people forget how to chew or use utensils.” Caregivers can learn how to segment tasks into smaller, manageable skills.

Appropriate cues are also helpful, like the caregiver putting undergarments on the outside of the hanger so the person will put those on first. Sometimes help is needed with choosing clothes; if a closet or drawer of garments is too overwhelming, the caregiver can select a few items to make the choice easier.

If the person living with Alzheimer’s disease is distracted easily, then the environment shouldn’t be cluttered by objects or noise (an example would be two radios playing different music at the same time). If you don’t want him or her to walk out the door, hang the coat in a closet, not near the door.

Working with the caregiver involves teaching him or her how to properly communicate. If the person living with Alzheimer’s disease understands visual cues more than verbal cues, incorporate these into activities. When during the day is the person most alert? If a pre-illness routine was working at night while sleeping during the day, keeping to a similar schedule may be more beneficial than reversing a once-familiar schedule.”


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