According to the Alzheimer Society, almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as “age-associated memory impairment,” which is considered a part of the normal aging process.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are not a part of normal aging. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It is a degenerative disease of the brain, causing symptoms to develop slowly and get worse over time. Age-associated memory impairment and dementia can be told apart in a number of ways. Below are some examples.
If you notice any of the warning signs of dementia, do not ignore them or hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor. Early detection can help delay the progression of the disease and treatment can help maintain independence longer.
Therapy’s Role in Dementia Care
At Healthcare Therapy Services, our therapists utilize a specialized dementia care program titled Embracing the Cognitive Spectrum. This program focuses on utilizing the Allen Cognitive Level Framework to recognize and reinforce use of remaining abilities to help those living with dementia reach their highest functional level. After conducting tests, therapists and other care givers can adapt environment, activities and incorporate personal life history (hobbies, music, daily routines, etc.) to develop a person-centered care plan. Therapists identify specific communication techniques such as rate of speech, processing time, gestures, visual props, and offer a cueing hierarchy to aide in effective communication. Caregiver, family and interdisciplinary team education is provided to enhance relationships through appropriate communication for meaningful social interactions.