Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease affecting almost 500,000 people in the UK. The exact cause of Alzheimer's disease still remains unknown, however a number of factors are considered to increase an individual's risks of developing the condition. For example, increasing age, family history of Alzheimer's, previous severe head injury and lifestyle choices.

Alzheimer's diseasedevelops over time and gradually becomes more severe over the course of several years. In the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, individuals may present with minor memory difficulties such as, forgetting recent events or conversations or forgetting the names of everyday objects. As the condition progresses, memory problems become more severe and further accompanying symptoms are present such as, unpredictable behaviours, language difficulties confusion and disorientation.

Our Occupational Therapists can help individuals and their families understand the impact of Alzheimer's disease on a person's day to day functioning. Our primary objective as Occupational Therapists is to keep an individual as independent as possible. One way in which we accomplish this is through developing ways to compensate for the limitations and maintain their independence. Our Occupational Therapists can also provide ways to modify the home environment in order to prevent falls and other injuries from taking place, as the degenerative brain disease take its course. Family dynamics can be extremely disrupted by the stresses of Alzheimer's disease and can make individual family members feel overwhelmed and strained. Our Occupational Therapists can help families deal with these stresses much more effectively and help individuals maintain that important emotional connection with their loved ones, reducing the impact the disease has on daily life.

Problems associated with condition

During the early stages of Alzheimer's disease individuals often present symptom free, however the toxic changes within the brain itself have begun to take place. This result in abnormal deposits of proteins accruing throughout the brain, and the once-healthy neurones begin to work less effectively. Over time these neurones lose their abilities and stop communicating with one another which begins to affect individual's abilities to:

  • Remember things
  • Make decisions
  • Perform everyday activities
  • Behave appropriately
  • Communicate

Although the progression of cognitive and functional declines caused by Alzheimer's disease are considered irreversible, our Occupational Therapy intervention have been shown to enhance the individuals sense of enjoyment and identity, increase their functional independence, decrease unwanted behaviours and lessen the burden of care felt by caregiver or family. This is done through various methods for example, adapting the physical environment to maximise function, educatingfamily members on coping skills and de-escalation techniques and through promoting healthy psychosocial functioning.

Our Occupational Therapy intervention are highly effective for individual's with Alzheimer's disease as they are individualised and tailored to their specific needs, their specific contexts and the specific stage of their disease. Our Occupational Therapists use their skills and knowledge to address areas of functioning, occupational performance and client and caregiver or family needs.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Alzheimer's disease has a profound impact the individual diagnosed and members of their family. It affects a person's ability to function independently and communicate effectively. Below is a summary of how Alzheimer's disease can affect the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties expressing emotions appropriately
  • Difficulties feeding
  • Memory loss
  • Communication difficulties
  • Difficulties washing and dressing independently
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulties mobilising
  • Risk of falls


  • Stigma
  • Unpredictable behaviours
  • Difficulties socialising

Individuals with mid stage Alzheimer's disease can demonstrate increasingly challenging social behaviours, especially if they have difficulties with communicating their feelings or concerns. This can make it extremely difficult for individuals to socialise appropriately and make friends. Our Occupational Therapists can reduce this confusion and promote positive interpersonal functioning through support groups. Our Occupational Therapists can also improve an individual's social interactions through the use of life books.

Safety is also a major concern for our Occupational Therapists and the family of individuals with mid stage Alzheimer's disease. Being home alone becomes a huge safety issue as individuals will often present with wandering behaviours and be at high risk of falling. Our Occupational Therapists can reduce this risk through making small or large home adaptations, such as alarms or tele care.

What exactly is Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia for which there is no known cure. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease and can be fatal. Most often Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed in individual's over the age of 65 years, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier.

Although the development of Alzheimer's disease is different in each individual diagnosed, the presenting symptoms are very similar. Early symptoms are often mistaken for age-related concerns, or manifestations of stress. In the early stages, the most common symptom is difficulties with remembering recent events, names of everyday objects and conversations, this is known as short term memory. In the more advance stages of Alzheimer's disease symptoms become more apparent, and include things such as, mood swings, confusions, irritability, aggression, trouble with language and difficulties with long term memory loss. As an individual's health declines their ability to control bodily functions also gets lost, resulting in them requiring 24 hour care.

The causation of Alzheimer's disease is still mostly unknown, however it has been found that 1% to 5% of cases have a genetic difference.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for Alzheimer's disease

Our Occupational Therapists unitise standardised assessment to gather relevant information and assist with treatment planning for individuals with Alzheimer's disease, some of the most common assessment used include:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment

Non-standardised assessments such as interviewing and observations of the individual and their family members are also essential tools for gathering the relevant information on the individual's functional abilities, coping strategies, care needs and interests. Our Occupational Therapists take into account various factors when assessing such as non-verbal communication, posture, facial expression and many more in order to ensure results pure and accurate.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments and services enable individuals to engage in everyday living though occupation. We use key enablement skills to help promote the health and well-being of each individual we treat. Our treatments for individuals with Alzheimer's disease aim to improve the following:

  • Functional independence
  • Behaviour
  • safety
  • Cognition
  • Feeding abilities
  • Families understanding of the effects of the condition

Our Occupational Therapy treatments are specially tailored to each and every individual, ensuring their every need is met. Our treatments have been shown to improve individual's functional abilities along with enhancing their overall life satisfaction.


Alzheimer's disease is an illness which effects the brain and slowly destroys an individual's memory and thinking skills and eventually their ability to carry out the simplest of everyday tasks. Our Occupational Therapy practitioners are experts in aiding individuals with Alzheimer's disease lead an independent and successful lifestyle. Our therapists can also educate family members or others involve about the effects of Alzheimer's disease and teach them effective coping strategies.Occupational Therapy can be that one treatment which makes a world of difference to the lives of those affected.

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

If you feel you or a family member would benefit from one of our Occupational Therapy assessments then please email us at or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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