Can a mid stage dementia patient benefit from occupational, physical and speech therapies?

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Thanks to the both of you for your answers. I read several articles of research that support your replies. I am having issues with the doctor however. She needs for him to come in for an evaluation. I never know when he'll co operate and go. He is not nearly as ambulatory.

Can evaluatiions/assessments be done at the home?
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Reply to gdbrown
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Yes, of course. Just keep your expectations reasonable.

I think Jeanne's said everything I was going to add :) Just a suggestion, though - you can complement speech therapy with music therapy, such as "singing for the brain." Enjoyable stimulation and good for breathing too.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Oh yes!

It probably depends a lot on what specific cognitive losses the person is experiencing, but various therapies can be quite beneficial.

Definitely physical therapy! Maybe just to have an evaluation by a PT and get recommend exercises and activities. Many dementia specialists emphasize the value of exercise at appropriate levels. My husband went to a gym regularly, and did water exercises at a rehab center with a warm water pool and well-trained instructors. He also played golf with a league for persons with handicaps, while he was able to manage that. Exercise is great. Does it have to be with a physical therapist? I don't think so, but starting there for advice might be good.

If the person with dementia is living in a private home, having an occupational therapist review the home setting could result in some good tips for improvements -- things to be rearranged, added, removed, etc. Ours pointed out where grab bars should be installed. I recall also discussing shoes, since my husband was shuffling. Beyond that I'm not sure of OT if memory is a major problem. For example, if the OT works with the client on how to brush her hair, there is no assurance that she will remember it the next day.

There is empirical evidence that speech therapy helps those who need it. Our speech therapist worked with my husband with projecting his voice so he could be heard in a group. They worked on this for several weeks, and we did the recommended exercises at home. My husband could now speak loudly -- but he didn't always remember to do so. But if I reminded him he could do it. I think this was worth the weeks of working on it!

Swallowing problems are also the province of speech therapy. They can do tests and recommend eating strategies and diets. They will give advice such as "swallow twice after each mouthful." Will the person with dementia remember to do that? Probably not, but the caregiver can give gentle reminders.

In my experience, appropriate therapies can contribute to the quality of life for a person with mild or moderate dementia.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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