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Physical Therapy and Alzheimer’s disease

The type of dementia known as Alzheimer’s causes memory loss, difficulty thinking, and problems with behavior. Alzheimer’s begins slowly and the symptoms worsen over time, thus interfering with daily living. Many patients with Alzheimer’s receive physical therapy to help delay the worsening of symptoms and to prolong a satisfactory lifestyle.

Physical therapy with Alzheimer’s patients consists of exercises in various movements. Physical activity has been shown to slow down the negative effects of dementia, as it can improve memory. The physical therapist is trained to design individualized exercise regimens for people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The exercises are not always physical; they also operate mental awareness activities as well.

At the onset and into the next stage of Alzheimer’s, keeping patients mobile is the focus of physical therapy. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s; however, the physical therapist can facilitate movement and activities to keep the patient active.

In the advanced stages of this disease, the physical therapist can continue to work with the patient in a new role. The professional can assist the patient with everyday tasks in order to reduce the burden on family members. The physical therapists can also educate the family about the disease and teach them techniques for improving the safety of their loved one. The therapist can also teach family members or caregivers how to take care of their loved one’s needs.


“Alzheimer’s Disease.” American Physical Therapy Association. Move Forward, 2011. Web. 30 May 2016.

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