The importance of occupational therapists and persons with dementia.


As a single male person diagnosed with dementia about ten years ago I was quite unaware of the importance of Occupational Therapists and their input in making life easier and safer for persons with dementia.

After diagnosis I carried on as usual without their assistance thinking I was ten foot tall and bullet proof. In a short time I moved into new accommodations and it was then that I was sent an OT to assess my living situation.

I must say, some years prior to this occurring I had worked in senior management in a company providing rehabilitation equipment to many individuals and facilities in Victoria and NSW. It was during this time that I had much contact with OT’s, but very little association with persons with dementia.

It was then, when I had my assessment at my new dwelling that I realised the role of the OT was such a vital person for a person like me, as a single male living alone with Younger Onset Dementia.

That day of the assessment changed my life in many ways but most importantly it made me understand the need for me to be aware of my surroundings and what needed to be corrected so I was safe. I removed mats I could trip or slip on, placed on slate floors.

I had a few episodes of stove top near disasters and ovens left on plus near catastrophies with the griller cooking, whilst I wandered off to do other chores. From that time onwards I now use an electric wok . I have a service providing wet area floor cleaning and gardening. I have removed cluttering to allow me to avoid tripping on poorly placed furniture and much more.

Without the intervention of an OT I probably would not be living well with dementia today and I always praise the invaluable service they provide for PWD, each and every time I speak and advocate for persons with Younger Onset Dementia.

Ian spoke on this subject at the Occupational Therapy Association of Australia forum in October 2016.

Ian Gladstone, Chair of Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Advisory Committee

'Care Of People with dementia in their Environments’ (COPE) program in Australia

A CDPC project currently in progress is examining the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of an Occupational Therapy based program called the ‘Care of People with dementia in their Environments’ (COPE) program into the Australian health system context.

The program, developed by Professor Laura Gitlin at Johns Hopkins University in the US, aims to support and empower people with dementia and their carers by working with occupational therapists and nurses to help identify challenges and implement strategies to manage everyday difficulties.

Read the latest COPE Newsletter Here

For more information on our COPE project visit our COPE page