Coping with disabilities
Interventions for people in long-term care institutions focus on people in the mild to severe stages of dementia. The interventions described below often aim to counteract rapid deterioration of cognitive or physical functioning or speech of nursing home residents.
Cognitive therapy aims to slow down cognitive decline, or improve cognitive capacity in people with dementia by stimulating memory and thinking. It involves therapies like cognitive stimulation and cognitive rehabilitation. These therapies use exercises to improve attention, and a wide range of activities, such as word games, puzzles, music, conversations on particular topics and practical activities such as gardening. Typically, cognitive training is carried out by trained staff with a small group of people with dementia at least two times a week.
Music therapy uses music and other sounds to restore or improve the sense of wellbeing in people with dementia. In music therapy sessions, music can be played individually for a person with dementia, or in group settings. In groups people are often encouraged to actively participate.
The nonjudgmental manner of animals makes them ideal therapists for people in need of a companion, especially those with physical and mental disabilities. Research has shown that therapy animals can stimulate social behaviour in people with dementia and reduce agitated behaviour.
By means of physical activity (sporting activities, games, or body experiences) psychomotor therapy aims to help people with dementia cope with the practical, emotional and social consequences of the disease.