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Occupational Therapy Intervention is a Family Affair

By Janie L. Rosman, Staff Writer
(Page 5 of 6)

Also consider physical limitations like hearing loss or visual impairment, as well as behavior (becoming difficult when given instructions). One challenge is for a caregiver is to understand a behavior, and then to understand its antecedent,” Glantz says. “What came first, and what is the cause?”

Identify habits and familiar routines that the person living with Alzheimer’s disease can maintain to prolong independence, in addition to helping the person get used to a new living situation (health care facility or relative’s home). Combing hair or brushing teeth can promote independence, as can engaging the person in favorite hobbies — like a jigsaw puzzle, for example.

Intervention later stages of AD includes adapting to the environment and helping caregivers promote routines, and learning how to minimize unwanted behaviors like agitation and aggression during caregiving, or complicating their condition with weight loss or falls. Addressing safety issues is of the utmost importance, especially if the person living with Alzheimer’s disease is unsteady.

Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, Director of the Jefferson Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health (CARAH) at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, concluded similar results from a four-month Care of Persons with Dementia in their Environment (COPE) intervention.


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