Occupational therapy is delivered by a trained health professional, known as an occupational therapist, who can help people to keep doing their everyday activities. For example, an occupational therapist might help someone keep preparing their meals by rearranging their kitchen and adding labels so that ingredients and equipment are easier to find. They might also help organise recipes into a folder and help the person practise using them. Another example is that an occupational therapist might help someone with dementia with their handwriting, as some people with dementia find it harder to write legibly.
Research studies consistently show that occupational therapy helps people with dementia keep doing things that are important to them and delays the need to go into a nursing home.
Home modifications are changes made to your home to make it easier and safer for you to go about your daily activities. Examples of home modifications are adding safety rails or outdoor lighting where someone might trip, or removing furniture which is blocking a pathway, or buying new a lounge chair with arms which is easier to stand up from. Home modifications might also involve using technology such as an ipad or digital clock/calendar.
- The Enabling Environments website has suggestions for how to make each room in your home dementia enabling. This means that your home is set up to help you live as independently as possible.
- The Stop Falls at Home website gives home safety tips to prevent falls and you can do a self-assessment on the website.
Occupational therapists can conduct home assessments and make recommendations for modifications. Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages can include home modifications. For more information see page 5.3 Plan to use services.
- Ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist or aged care service.
- Using the enabling environments website or get the help of an occupational therapist to make changes to your home to support your independence.
- Get private or government funded services to help at home.