We have a lecture on dementia coming up. I’m looking forward to it. Another example…I observed a geriatric patient who had classic (but undiagnosed) signs of Parkinson’s. The shuffling gait, the perseveration (sp?), shakiness, etc. She never spoke unless spoken too, and it was very rarely more than a word or two. She was very old and deconditioned and we were always trying to get her to increase endurance and strength. She always had the cutest smile when the OT would work with her and try to get her to do something. She would look at us with this small smile, which to me read as “Are you guys serious? What do you guys think you’re doing?” I adored her smile. She seemed to get what was going on, and showed her wry smile frequently. I was shocked when I was informed she had dementia. To me, dementia is still a matter of crazy-talk…but apparently it can be much more subtle. I guess I’ll learn more in our upcoming lecture.
This particular case kind of made me wonder when enough is enough. If the woman is deconditioned, VERY old, and has no desire to participate, do occupational therapists really need to be “torturing” her with rehab? I don’t know…
PS: I saw some creative use of flower arranging at this facility as well. They would have one person with the patient guarding the patient standing up, and one person holding long fake flowers in the air for the patient to reach. Then the patient had to bend down a little to get the long stem into the long vase. It was a clever occupation-based activity.