Driving with Dementia?

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What is dementia?

Dementia refers to a group of different symptoms. Symptoms including memory loss, word-finding difficulties, impaired judgement, and problems with day-to-day activities. Injury or loss of brain cells are typical for patients who suffer from Dementia. Therefore dementia combined with driving could get a little bit dicey.

 

What is normal?

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, it is possible to have symptoms of dementia without having Alzheimer’s.

Most noteworthy is the question- Is it safe to drive with dementia?

The question is very subjective. According to Attorney Bernard J. Rabik, “People with dementia who continue to drive pose a potential danger on the road, worry their families and present challenges to health-care personnel. Most people would agree that anyone with moderate or severe dementia should not drive, but a careful evaluation is required to assess whether a patient such as your dad with his dementia remains fit to drive.”. In conclusion, just because someone can drive doesn’t mean that they should.

What can I do

Discussions about driving habits should be ongoing between friends and family. Furthermore, passengers should be observant of a important red flags such as

  • Failure to comprehend traffic signsSenior man holding up keys to his new car
  • Making poor of slow decisions
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Hitting curbs or other objects
  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Continually taking longer to complete a known route
  • Forgetting the where they are coming from or where they have been

Certainly, driving evaluations are available. Strategies can be taught to help the driver continue driving if the evaluator deems the driver safe. Receiving poor driving evaluation result could be enough to convince your loved one that they have become too unsafe to drive. However, other times, more initiative needs to be taken to ensure the safety of our loved ones and others on the road. Discussion options with friends and families and involving the driver themselves is important. Above all, having this conversation is important to keep everyone in the family safe!

In a perfect world people will be able to recognize when they are unfit to drive. Unfortunately people with dementia are easily confused and can be unaware that they are making bad decisions. While we want to respect our loved one feeling, it is important to remember that safety is a priority.

 

Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

 

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Work Out Your Way to Reducing the Onset of Alzheimer’s

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You may already be asking yourself- What does Dementia and Physical Therapy have to do with each other? More than you might know! Dr. Grace Walkerphysical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed two new studies that you might want to know about.

Elder woman exercising outdoors with free-weights and smiling

  • What is Dementia, and how does Alzheimer’s disease differ?

This is one of the most common questions which can be answered quite simply. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms such as impaired memory or thinking. It is commonly associated with the cognitive decline of aging. Many conditions cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Alzheimer’s disease, as of now, has no cure. It is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain which form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between the neurons (communication cells) in the brain are lost and begin to die. The lack of communication between cells in the brain causes the symptoms of dementia.

Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton, has found the “clock-drawing test” to be a useful screening tool to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. It has been proven so useful that Ontario adopted this test for its senior drivers. Poor scores do not result in the license being revoked, however, they do signal the need for a closer look at the drivers physical and cognitive condition.

Vrkljan warns against family members administering this test at home as “there is a standardized approach to how you score it.” So don’t try to make your grandfather try to draw a clock after you’ve read this- he might not be too excited about you testing his clock-drawing abilities, anyhow.

  • Prevention and regulation of symptoms is possible.

Recent studies have shown that exercise programs can help reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and regulate symptoms of dementia. This is done a few different ways.

  1. Slow mental decline– exercise has been shown to slow brain atrophy (degeneration), especially in the hippocampus, which can influence memory and spatial navigation.
  2. Reduce the risk of falls– changes in judgement and spatial control contribute to tendency to fall. Exercises improve balance and reduce the fear of falling.
  3. Improve physical function– mobility, balance, coordination, and strength.
  4. Improve sleep– sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. Exercise can help one fall into a normal sleep pattern.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our staff of trained physical therapists are here to help you and your loved ones design and carry out supervised exercise programs. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun, healing environment.

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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New Research: Physical Therapy to Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s

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You may already be asking yourself- What does Dementia and Physical Therapy have to do with each other? More than you might know! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, has reviewed two new studies that you might want to know about.

Elder woman exercising outdoors with free-weights and smiling

  • What is Dementia, and how does Alzheimer’s disease differ?

This is one of the most common questions which can be answered quite simply. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms such as impaired memory or thinking. It is commonly associated with the cognitive decline of aging. Many conditions cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Alzheimer’s disease, as of now, has no cure. It is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain which form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between the neurons (communication cells) in the brain are lost and begin to die. The lack of communication between cells in the brain causes the symptoms of dementia.

Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton, has found the “clock-drawing test” to be a useful screening tool to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. It has been proven so useful that Ontario adopted this test for its senior drivers. Poor scores do not result in the license being revoked, however, they do signal the need for a closer look at the drivers physical and cognitive condition.

Vrkljan warns against family members administering this test at home as “there is a standardized approach to how you score it.” So don’t try to make your grandfather try to draw a clock after you’ve read this- he might not be too excited about you testing his clock-drawing abilities, anyhow.

  • Prevention and regulation of symptoms is possible.

Recent studies have shown that exercise programs can help reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and regulate symptoms of dementia. This is done a few different ways.

  1. Slow mental decline– exercise has been shown to slow brain atrophy (degeneration), especially in the hippocampus, which can influence memory and spatial navigation.
  2. Reduce the risk of falls– changes in judgement and spatial control contribute to tendency to fall. Exercises improve balance and reduce the fear of falling.
  3. Improve physical function– mobility, balance, coordination, and strength.
  4. Improve sleep– sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. Exercise can help one fall into a normal sleep pattern.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our staff of trained physical therapists are here to help you and your loved ones design and carry out supervised exercise programs. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun, healing environment.

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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Alzheimer’s Prevention and Physical Therapy?- 2 new studies that might have more in common than you think.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

 

You may already be asking yourself- What does Dementia and Physical Therapy have to do with each other? More than you might know! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, has reviewed two new studies that you might want to know about.

Elder woman exercising outdoors with free-weights and smiling

  • What is Dementia, and how does Alzheimer’s disease differ?

This is one of the most common questions which can be answered quite simply. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms such as impaired memory or thinking. It is commonly associated with the cognitive decline of aging. Many conditions cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

Alzheimer’s disease, as of now, has no cure. It is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain which form plaques and tangles in the brain. Connections between the neurons (communication cells) in the brain are lost and begin to die. The lack of communication between cells in the brain causes the symptoms of dementia.

 

Brenda Vrkljan, associate professor of occupational therapy at McMaster University in Hamilton, has found the “clock-drawing test” to be a useful screening tool to measure cognitive impairment in patients with signs of dementia. It has been proven so useful that Ontario adopted this test for its senior drivers. Poor scores do not result in the license being revoked, however, they do signal the need for a closer look at the drivers physical and cognitive condition.

Vrkljan warns against family members administering this test at home as “there is a standardized approach to how you score it.” So don’t try to make your grandfather try to draw a clock after you’ve read this- he might not be too excited about you testing his clock-drawing abilities, anyhow.

 

  • Prevention and regulation of symptoms is possible.

Recent studies have shown that exercise programs can help reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and regulate symptoms of dementia. This is done a few different ways.

  1. Slow mental decline– exercise has been shown to slow brain atrophy (degeneration), especially in the hippocampus, which can influence memory and spatial navigation.
  2. Reduce the risk of falls– changes in judgement and spatial control contribute to tendency to fall. Exercises improve balance and reduce the fear of falling.
  3. Improve physical function– mobility, balance, coordination, and strength.
  4. Improve sleep– sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. Exercise can help one fall into a normal sleep pattern.

 

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our staff of trained physical therapists are here to help you and your loved ones design and carry out supervised exercise programs. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in an affordable, fun, healing environment.

Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!

 

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

www.walkerpt.com

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