If someone you love suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.5 million Americans. In fact the NIA ranks Alzheimer’s disease as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. And while there is no cure and no clear cause of Alzheimer’s, there are recommended treatments – including habilitation therapy – that can extend your loved one’s ability to function and enjoy their daily life. Habilitation therapy for Alzheimer’s disease is a holistic approach that focuses on the emotional wellbeing of the patient.
Habilitation Therapy for Alzheimer’s
What Is Alzheimer’s?
According to the NIA, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia in older adults. Depending on the severity of the disease, it can impact a patient’s cognitive abilities, memory, mood, personality, and ability to perform everyday tasks. The cause of the disease is still unknown, and there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Progression of the disease can take years, but in some instances, damage to memory and cognitive function can develop quickly.
What Is Habilitation Therapy?
Because Alzheimer’s disease can take such a large toll on a loved one’s personal happiness and emotional wellbeing, it is important to keep them socially engaged and active. That’s why habilitation therapy for Alzheimer’s focuses on the patient’s everyday happiness and day-to-day life. As the Alzheimer’s Association explains, “Habilitation Therapy helps to provide those living with Alzheimer’s or another related dementia to be active, enjoy their day, and to assist with personal care tasks as they are able.”
The goal of this type of therapy is to provide the patient with a loving and active emotional surrounding. To do this, habilitation therapy focuses more on a patient’s strength and current abilities and less on the limitations that have changed their ability to function in their everyday life. It might sound like a small service, but providing meaningful activities and social interactions is one of the keys to good dementia care, according to the Alzheimer’s Association: “Activities help residents maintain their functional abilities and can enhance quality of life.”
How Does Habilitation Therapy Work?
Forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, affect a person’s ability to function, their mood, their memory, and their cognitive skills. But even when the disease has altered someone’s personality, their daily happiness is crucial to their overall health.
It’s important to remember that a person with Alzheimer’s may struggle with memory and recognition, but they can still experience joy and meaning in their lives. The goal is to figure out what now brings them joy and comfort. This might take patience and some trial and error, but it is often well worth the effort. If you’re practicing habilitation therapy for Alzheimer’s, start by suggesting activities you can do with your loved one or family member. See how they react and take note. If a particular activity (like flipping through photo albums) becomes frustrating for them, avoid that activity and move on to something else.
Because Alzheimer’s affects memory, it’s possible that what brought someone joy and happiness in the past might be frustrating now. Even daily tasks like cooking, gardening, or getting dressed can be a struggle for some people affected by Alzheimer’s. So don’t rush your loved one. Provide comfort and pay attention when they show signs of agitation or confusion.
Tips for Implementing Habilitation Therapy for Alzheimer’s
Everyone is unique, so each person’s symptoms of Alzheimer’s will also be unique. For that reason, it’s important to pay attention to the individual person when exploring habilitation therapy for Alzheimer’s. What are the person’s interests? What frustrates them? Do they enjoy talking about their past and their family? Do they have a hobby they particularly enjoy? How often are they socializing? These are all things to pay attention to and keep in mind as you build their list of activities and social engagements.
Alzheimer’s disease can be a frustrating experience for both the patient and their loved ones. But you’re not alone. If you’re curious about how to transition your loved one from assisted living to memory care, we’re here to help answer your questions. You might even consider moving your loved one into an assisted living community that specializes in memory care, like Waterstone on Augusta, to ease the transition.
Located in the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, Waterstone on Augusta is a premier assisted living and memory care community. We offer a welcoming environment and an enriching lifestyle for our seniors. We provide support services for family members and engage residents through social events, activities, and games. One aspect that sets Waterstone on Augusta apart is the village-like landscape, which provides a unique experience for those who call this community home. Schedule a tour online or give us a call at 864-568-0482.