Lewy Body Dementia is a complex disease that usually affects several different body systems. For this reason, treatment often involves the work of more than one physician or specialist, depending on how the disease presents itself. Occupational therapy and physical therapy are commonly used in conjunction with other treatments and have the potential to significantly improve a person with LBD’s quality of life.
Occupational therapy can help a person with LBD learn how to safely get through bathing, dressing, eating and other aspects of their daily routine. Treatment focuses on motor and cognitive skills and an occupational therapist will usually work with the person with LBD to learn how to communicate using simple words and commands. OT can also improve hand-eye coordination, cognitive functioning, visuospatial functioning and some symptoms that are present in Parkinson’s.
Here are some ways OT can help a person with LBD and their caregiver:
A person forgets how to use the restroom: Helps the caregiver and person select clothing that is easy to remove, labels drawers and parts of the restroom and develops a simple process for using it.
A person becomes emotional with their loved ones: Teaches caregivers and families loving, non-defensive techniques, and helps identify underlying causes that may have triggered the episode.
Physical therapy can help with some physical limitations that are commonly found in people with LBD, including shuffling gate, limited range of motion, Parkinsonian symptoms and poor balance. A physical therapist may try to address these issues and others through core and leg-strengthening exercises, balance exercises, fall prevention techniques and flexibility exercises, to name a few.
Like an occupational therapist, a physical therapist may help a person with LBD and their caregiver develop a common and simple language for exercises and physical activity. PT has also been proven to reduce the risk of depression and help people with LBD remain independent for as long as possible.
Some of the activities a physical therapist may suggest include:
Repetitive activities to improve visuospatial issues
Stretching to improve flexibility
Need help? Contact us today to learn more about OT and PT therapists in your area or for information on other treatment options.