Better health for people living with dementia : a guide on the role of allied health
"In 2001, while working as an occupational therapist at a Sydney hospital, my husband was diagnosed with a younger onset dementia.
A healthy, fit, intelligent man with a love for life and for his family, this was a shock – for him, for me, and for our two teenage children. During the subsequent 10 years of the progression of his condition, we learned a great deal from my husband.
We learned about the enormous complexity of dementia. We came to better understand the complex changes in cognitive, perceptual and language abilities which challenge living your life with this condition.
We also learned that life is different, but can continue to be enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding – with support, informed guidance and assistance from people with understanding and expertise in the condition of dementia. What we were not prepared for was the lack of allied health professionals available to work with the changing capacities and abilities for people with this progressive condition.
Having worked in rehabilitation settings with skilled multidisciplinary teams and knowing the difference that allied health professionals could make for a person with a disability, it was alarming and bewildering that these services were not equally available for people with the disabilities which come with a dementia. Better health for people living with dementia: a guide for health professionals, together with its companion resource for consumers, is a wonderful national initiative by Alzheimer’s Australia through their National Quality Dementia Care Initiative, together with the Agency for Clinical Innovation (NSW). Through widespread consultation with people with dementia, carers and allied health professionals, this resource provides a much needed overview for all health professionals, about the vital role of allied health with people with dementia.
Hopefully this initiative will be just the beginning of an increased capacity of allied health professionals to understand the complex and varied needs of people living with dementia and to work in partnership to provide the support to live the life they deserve to live. Joan Jackman Wife of Michael – a courageous man who showed us how to live with dementia. "
Allied health professionals and you : a guide for people living with dementia and their carers
This booklet talks about how you can improve your life by talking to allied health professionals.
Allied health professionals include:
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
workers (these workers will have different titles
in different states and territories)
• Chinese medicine practitioners
• dementia advisors and key workers
(see note below)
• dental therapists, dental hygienists and oral
• diversional therapists
• exercise physiologists
• music therapists
• occupational therapists
• social workers
• speech pathologists.
Note: Dementia advisors (sometimes known as key workers) are available in some states and territories. Most are
allied health professionals (or nurses) with considerable experience or further training in working with people
with dementia. They are included in this publication although they are not available throughout Australia.
Lifestyle-integrated functional exercise : reducing falls and improving function
This program is a lifestyle approach to help you change everyday habits – even the way you stand up or pick something up – into a way of improving your strength and balance. Habits can be changed gradually by thinking about what you do and how you do it. There are many opportunities in our everyday life for incorporating balance practice and strength training. This manual gives you a few ideas, can you think of more?
Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging
Qigong is the centuries-old practice of moving vital energy (Qi) through the channels of the body, known as meridians, to promote vitality and health. Stephen Rath details current research and Traditional Chinese Medicine theory to show how Qigong practice can support cognitive functioning, as well as emotional and physical wellbeing, in people with dementia. Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging presents a set of accessible Qigong exercises and breathing techniques adapted specifically for older people who may be frail or have limited mobility, which address specific symptoms associated with dementia. These include exercises for the hands and feet, exercises for releasing emotions through the Five Animal Sounds, seated exercises, and facial exercises. The exercises, contributed by the Natural Healing Research Foundation from their Senior Exercise Class in Hawaii, are presented with clear explanatory illustrations. The final part of the book describes the Chinese understanding of nutrition as an essential underpinning of good health into old age, and provides health-giving food and drink recipes for people with dementia based on these principles. There is also a helpful chapter on practicing Qigong to protect against caregiver burnout. This will be an invaluable book for care professionals, nurses, activity coordinators, and physical therapists, as well as people with dementia and their families.
This program is designed to help seniors develop strength and enhance the ability to function in daily life. This beginning yoga program improves respiration and circulation and reduces tension. Stronger Seniors Yoga Chair Exercise will help to increase balance, flexibility, and strength. Yoga incorporates simple mind/body exercises focusing on breath and relaxation which help to reduce stress.
Stronger seniors workout program. Stretch & StrengthA two-part program designed to help older people develop strength and enhance ability to function in daily life, improving stability, balance and mobility. workout routine specifically for seniors, performed at a slow, relaxing pace. The chair exercises will increase flexibility, provide a renewed sense of balance and well-being, develop strength, and enhance the ability to function for seniors.