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Dementia treatment

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Physiotherapy helps a person with dementia and their caregivers in various ways. It attempts at encouraging physical activity and moreover promotes independence for as long as possible. Such independence can ease the role of the caregiver by reducing stress and increase the quality of life of the person with dementia. Exercise also has the impact of boosting mood and thinking of people with dementia, and thus reduces the need for medication. Since people with dementia are prone to falls, a physiotherapist can help reduce the risk through the use of strength and balance exercises, and correcting postures. If certain functional tasks are difficult such as walking, physiotherapists can help the person with dementia find newer ways of doing the same task. They can also recommend changes in the home environment or mobility aids to ensure safety and better functionality such as walking sticks, Engaging in physiotherapy, thus, serves to boost confidence for a person with dementia – a great byproduct as the loss of mastery over the environment as dementia progresses can otherwise be a huge cause of despair for a person with dementia.

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How does it work?

As dementia progresses, the cognitive impairment can become so significant that it hampers with daily functional activities such as walking, talking, behaviour, and continence. A physiotherapist will assess the mobility, balance, and strength difficulties faced by the person with dementia, and accordingly, encourage exercises and suggest different alternatives of performing the same tasks, thereby increasing their sense of well-being and independence in day-to-day tasks. 

Is it effective and safe? 

A physiotherapist has the knowledge to assess functional impairments and suggest corrective measures for the same. It is thus effective in helping the person regain their independence and a sense of well-being and confidence in their day to day tasks. As people with dementia are prone to falling, reducing the risk of falling is also one focus of intervention by the physiotherapist. Thus, not engaging in physiotherapy would be unsafe.

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