In this month’s series of blogs at Lesya Dyk O.T. Services – we are giving Alzheimer’s a 360 degree treatment. Occupational therapists have an important role in helping clients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia live their lives as functionally and productively as possible.
I dedicate this series to my uncle Hans (not his real name), who is defying the odds and is living with the disease, staving off the worst of the functional difficulties with exercise and activity. He is the reason that I am talking to some of the best resources that we have in the community to help us with answers to the tough questions.
As an Occupational Therapist, I have treated many people with Alzheimer’s Dementia, as well as other types of dementia’s, but never as the primary diagnosis. I have encountered individuals who have had a traumatic brain injury and whose Alzheimer’s dementia was subsequently accelerated. I have also encountered persons with Chronic Pain Syndrome who “drank the pain away”, and developed Korsakoff’s dementia as a result. And there have been other individuals who have had a fall and a fracture, and the subsequent lack of mobility and change in function, seemed to trigger a worsening in cognitive function that was already teetering on the edge.
Some Noteworthy statistics:
Dementia sufferer’s are twice as likely to fall as others in their age group
They have a three times greater mortality rate, three months after a fall as compared to others without dementia
In all cases, a thorough assessment by the treatment team was key to ensuring that the proper diagnosis was established, and all the treatment recommendations were properly implemented. Maintaining function, including activities of daily living and exercise, was a key to slowing down the decline of cognitive functions and central to the OT intervention. And lastly, educating the family, especially the caregivers was important. Often the emotional sequelae of dementias come as a shock to family, and can be very hurtful. Knowing how to best support the family was often a role in helping the client stay home as long as possible.
We hope you find this informative – lets keep the awareness high because it is an issue for us all– Canada ranks 3rd in the world behind Finland and the U.S. for deaths related to Alzheimer’s. (World Health Ranking) And remember this: “Never give up hope. If you do, you’ll be dead already.–Dementia Patient, Rose (“The Inspired Caregiver”)
The Progressive Goal Attainment Program ( PGAP®) is designed to prevent or reduce the severity of disability that can arise following injury or illness by providing individuals with a tool set that assists them in progressing with life.
At LDOT , our therapists are very aware of the challenges our clients face when they try to get back to their normal activities after suffering an accident or injury. Sometimes, pain, anxiety, depression or symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affect the ability for one to get “on with life”. They become what is often referred to as “chronically disabled”.
Whether addressed in relation to personal, social or health care costs; chronic disability remains one of the most expensive health problems facing modern society. PGAP® was designed to target psychosocial risk factors for disability. Psychosocial factors were chosen by Dr. Michael Sullivan PhD as targets of the intervention on the basis of emerging research supporting their relevance to return-to- work outcomes and the ability to change through intervention.
How does PGAP® work?
During an initial screening, out therapists determine whether a client is a suitable candidate for PGAP®. During the first session, clients are invited to view one of 4 PGAP Information Videos. Different videos have been developed to address factors specific to different disabling conditions. The videos feature interviews with medical and rehabilitation experts on the factors that contribute to successful rehabilitation and recovery. The idea is that our clients are informed of the research behind what they are trying to accomplish.
In the initial weeks of the Program, the focus is on developing a structured activity schedule using a diary system to assist the client in resuming activities that have been affected by injury or illness. Activity goals are chosen by the client – your goals not ours – in order to promote resumption of family, social and occupational roles. Intervention techniques are used to target specific obstacles to rehabilitation progress . That is why PGAP® requires training and certification.
The sessions are limited to 10 weeks. If the client is not progressing or does not feel that this approach is for them, the programme can be terminated, saving time and cost to all.
We feel very strongly about this approach to managing chronic illness. If you have Chronic Pain, are a cancer survivor, suffer from anxiety, depression or have any other chronic health issue that you feel is preventing you from doing what you love to do or need to do in your life, ask us about PGAP®.
Insomnia is the single most commonly reported health problem in adults, and is often related or co-exists with reports of depression and /or anxiety, Chronic pain, PTSD, and other disorders. What we also know, is that if someone has insomnia, the stress associated with going to sleep, in order to fall asleep keeps mounting.
We have training to help with the behavioural aspects of insomnia that can:
Assess your sleep in a non sleep lab setting
Provide sleep management strategies
Teach you how to determine your optimal “sleep window”
Provide techniques for managing ruminating thoughts and an overactive mind during the night
Help troubleshoot the common issues related to sleep conditions
Sessions are available through auto insurance coverage, some extended health insurance coverage and private pay options.
Lesya Dyk has one man to thank for Lesya Dyk O.T. Service Inc. having a charitable policy. And that man is a plumber (a very rich plumber) from London England, Charlie Mullins. Charlie was featured in the original BBC series “Secret Millionaire”, as was his family. Charlie’s life changed when he volunteered at a programme for developmentally delayed men in a garden centre in the North of England. Neither the staff nor the clients knew who he was, and did not know that he was in fact, a millionaire. After watching this programme, Lesya was so moved by the results of Charlie Mullins’ volunteerism and charity, and moreover the profound change to Charlie in the course of the programme, that she contacted and corresponded with Charlie, and as a result developed a charitable policy. Part of that charitable policy is giving back to the communities in which we work (giving back), and investing in programmes for kids (paying it forward, to the next generation).
What was made abundantly clear in that episode of “Secret Millionaire”, is that everybody wants to be productive, wants to belong, and wants to have a bit of respect. And these men, who society often marginalized, wanted nothing more to “hang out” with a “bloke” who wanted to make garden projects with them, and who treated them with respect. And in the end, as well as a generous donation to the project, they received a donation of some facilities so they had a proper bathroom. It hit all the Occupational Therapy buttons- Self care, Productivity, Leisure, and a few other things as well. We will endeavor to place on our website; information of our charitable partners so you too can be inspired…