Skip to content

How Occupational Therapy Helps With Elderly Memory Loss 

    Memory loss is not uncommon among older patients. Fortunately, there are techniques and therapy methods medical professionals use to improve memory. Fairview Rehab and Nursing Home offers a range of rehabilitation therapies for the patients, including occupational therapy that helps with memory loss. 

    Most of us suffer from a certain degree of memory loss as we grow older. In most cases, the symptoms are mild: we forget where we put our glasses or a friend’s phone number. But, for some people, memory loss is more serious and impacts their ability to lead normal lives. 

    Often, memory loss comes with dementia, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.  

    The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients re-learn skills they have lost or cannot do anymore. Some of these skills are necessary for the patients to live an independent life and helping them regain them goes a long way in improving their quality of life.

    ADL or the Activities of Daily Life therapy

    ADL is the term therapists use to describe the activities that are part of a person’s daily life routine. This includes basic actions such as washing hands, cooking, or dressing.

    People that suffer from memory loss are often unable to perform basic daily activities most of us do daily without thinking. Therapists assist patients to develop a routine of daily tasks, greatly improving their ability to live normal lives. 

    ADL is one of the most useful types of occupational therapy when it comes to memory loss.

    Occupational therapists start by evaluating a patient’s ability to do everyday tasks. Once they know what patients can do, they focus on helping with activities they are unable to do. 

    Sometimes, it involves showing patients new ways of doing tasks they have difficulties with such as having a bath, dressing, or preparing meals. They make each task easier and simpler. The more tasks they can perform on their own, the more independent they are.

    Helping patients to stay active

    Research shows that people who stay active as they age have a much better chance of maintaining their memory and optimal cognitive abilities. Occupational therapists use a range of activities to ensure that patients stay alert, stimulated, and engaged. 

    The goal is to help patients do as many activities on their own, without the need for help. One of the big fears of elderly people is the dependence on others and the inability to live actively on their own.

    Physical exercise also plays an important role in maintaining cognitive abilities and memory. Occupational therapy includes a range of exercises that aim at restoring strength. Physical exercises are important for the general health of the patients and feeling stronger makes them feel more optimistic and driven to continue with improving their skills.

    Keeping the mind active

    Keeping the mind active through the range of activities is one of the main goals of occupational therapy.  Memory games are a great way to engage a patient’s mind and help them recall lost information and memories. Many activities popular with elderly patients are also memory games: puzzles, jigsaws, or arts and crafts. As patients continue to lose their memory with diseases such as dementia, memory loss becomes more pronounced. 

    While patients have more difficulty playing their favorite games, they are encouraged to keep trying and stay engaged as much as they can.