Last up this OT week is this blog from Elaine Hunter @elaineahpmh National Alzheimer Scotland AHP consultant.
Please visit Let’s Talk about Dementia blog
This year’s theme for occupational therapy week is Small Change, BIG impact and celebrates the impact that occupational therapy has on people’s lives. I wanted to take the opportunity in this blog to share with you the role of occupational therapy if you are living with dementia or supporting a person with dementia.
What is an occupational therapist?
Occupational therapists are experts in physical and mental health and social care. They look at your strengths and abilities, to help your daily occupations and activities. Making small changes to your home can sometimes make life easier, and they can provide special equipment or advice that might, for example, make bathing easier or cooking safer. If you find that remembering things is becoming a problem, they can give you tips on how to boost your memory. They can also discuss with you the impact of living with dementia while you are still at work. The occupational therapist can advise family, friends and carers how to support someone living with dementia as well as how to look after their own health. They can also suggest other services which may provide additional support.
Contacting an occupational therapist
Ask your GP, consultant or social work department. You can also link to an occupational therapist through your local Alzheimer Scotland service or community mental health team.
The Royal College of Occupational has some helpful resources on dementia
Top tips from occupational therapists when you are living with dementia
If you are living with dementia or know someone who has just been diagnosed with dementia occupational therapy can help. Occupational therapists will consider all of your needs – physical, psychological, social and environmental. Their support can make a real difference giving a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way you feel about the future.There are simple steps you or a friend/family member can do, to help you manage day to day, to stay active and keep connected with your local community. Occupational therapists have provided top tips that you or a friend/family member can do to help you.
Staying active in everyday life
You have a future, hopes and dreams can still be realised.
Keep doing what you enjoy and what’s important to you.
Keep your routine going. Routines provide structure and familiarity.
Decide what you need help with and what you don’t.
Try something new.
Use technology, like mobile phone apps, to stay independent.
Taking care of yourself
Exercise, get out and about.
Eat regularly and have a balanced diet.
Stay connected to family and friends.
Keep talking. Let people know what helps you with communication.
Take time to relax. Be aware of how you feel, it’s OK to have time to yourself.
Try to do one thing at a time. Don’t put yourself under pressure.
What you can do at home
Use reminders for information, dates and appointments. Everyday technology can help.
Declutter so the objects you use every day are easier to find.
Use colour contrast to make objects stand out.
Remove trip hazards, like rugs.
Make sure rooms are clearly lit. Consider night lights.
Support from an occupational therapist
An occupational therapist can work with you to overcome the barriers that prevent you
from doing what matters to you. Occupational therapy CAN help you to:
Use your strengths and abilities to stay active.
Adopt strategies and techniques to continue with daily occupations (activities)
Make changes to make life easier and to live safely in your home
Access your community, getting to the shops and local facilities.
Continue with valued roles, such as working or caring for others.
Advise family and friends on how to support you to live well with dementia.
Occupational Therapy Week isn’t only for occupational therapists, anyone can show their support for occupational therapists and the work they do. Follow the hash tags #OTWeek2019 and #SmallChangeBigImpact to see how occupational therapists are celebrating and promoting occupational therapy. You can also join us at @AHPDementia or on this blog, simply ask us a question and we will do our best to answer. #Thankyou