The benefits of physical therapy include:
- Better balance and reduced risk of falls
- Improved muscle tone and strength
- Increased independence
- Planning for assistive devices to enable daily activities
Treatment approaches include:
1. Balance therapy
This consists of specific exercises to improve balance. These exercises can involve simple tasks like standing on one leg or standing with the feet close together. Assistive devices may be provided to improve safety. Supervised balance therapy enables the patient to improve gradually, and the dependence on assistive devices is gradually reduced.
2. Therapeutic exercise
Brisk walking and swimming are examples of exercises that can improve mobility, muscle tone and blood circulation. The therapist will supervise the patient at all times. Stretching exercises help to minimize muscle tightness.
3. Massage therapy
This form of treatment is primarily aimed at calming the patient and reducing stress level. Alzheimer's patients understandably experience a degree of frustration. Emotions can run high. Verbally calming the patient is useful, but the effect of touch and massage therapy is extremely useful.
4. Assistance with activities of daily living
In severe cases, the loss of independence is so significant that a patient cannot bathe or use the bathroom independently. Physical therapists are able to help patients learn to manage these tasks with a combination of exercises and assistive devices.