The rehabilitation program for persons with Alzheimer's disease differs depending upon the symptoms, expression, and progression of the disease, and the fact that making a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is so difficult. These variables determine the amount and type of assistance needed for the Alzheimer's individual and family. Beaumont's rehabilitation specialists provide a range of treatment programs for geriatric patients, including Alzheimer's patients and patients with other neurologic conditions. Our speech and language therapists can also help analyze communication deficits and establish short-term and long-term plans to maximize function.
Specifically, we offer a Coping with Dementia program that evaluates the patient's communicative abilities using a series of measures for speech, language, memory and cognitive skills. The results are used to develop treatment goals and make further treatment recommendations.
With Alzheimer's rehabilitation, it is important to remember that, although any skills lost will not be regained, the caregiving team must keep in mind the following considerations:
- Physical exercise and social activity are important, as are proper nutrition and health maintenance.
- Plan daily activities that help to provide structure, meaning, and accomplishment for the individual.
- As functions are lost, adapt activities and routines to allow the individual to participate as much as possible.
- Keep activities familiar and satisfying.
- Allow the individual to complete as many things by himself/herself as possible. The caregiver may need to initiate an activity, but allow the individual to complete it as much as he/she can.
- Provide "cues" for desired behavior (i.e., label drawers/cabinets/closets according to their contents).
- Keep the individual out of harm's way by removing all safety risks (i.e., car keys, matches).
- As a caregiver (full-time or part-time), it is important to understand your own physical and emotional limitations.