OT student learns some neat stuff…dementia

I wrote this hahardazardadly (sp) a few days ago. I thought it was neat even if my words dont' exactly sparkle. I'm trying really hard to get up the energy to do SOMETHING – Yesterday I had lunch with a friend, studied with her, went to an Oscars party at Brooke's, then studied with previous friend until 130am. And ended up awake until 3am because I had so much caffeine. Now I'm all zonked out and lifting a pinkie finger is hard. I'm trying to decide between getting an oil change and my car checked out – BORING – or going to the laundrymat and a foam factory – BORING – and wishing I could do both at the same time for efficiency purposes. Hmm. I'll figure it out soon I guess. In the meantime, the story below – the one about the crystal especially – is awesome! To me at least.

I am on a Gerontology Listserv for Occupational Therapists, and I’ve gotten to read some really interesting posts lately by OTs about behavior in dementia they have encountered in practice, and how it even bizarre behavior has some sort of trigger. For example, there was a woman who kept on climbing on her chest of drawers and was at a high risk for falls, obviously. The OT assessed the situation and found out it mostly happened in the afternoon, and observed the woman. It turned out the woman’s roommate had a crystal in the window and around 2pm the sun would hit it in such a way as to make a kaleidoscope of dazzling colors on the chest of drawers. This was the trigger for her climbing. The crystal was moved and the problem was solved. That was my favorite story because that would totally be me with the crystal. J Another story: an older man who fell constantly. The OT did research and discovered he loved biking. She also discovered that he needed a lot of vestibular input and sensory integration-based interventions, or he’d start trying to self-stimulate and would end up falling. Yet another few stories: A man always groped his caretaker at nighttime during bath time. It seemed like a huge problem, but the OT discovered that historically, the man had always bathed with his wife at night before lovemaking. By moving the bath to the morning, the problem was solved. Basically, the OT is often an investigator. There were other stories involving men urinating in potted plants and the like. I really liked the discussion because they talked about validation theory, retrogenesis, behavioral triggers, and more. It’s amazing to me.

Feb 25, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

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