If you’re an occupational therapist, you have expert skills to help people do the things they want and need to do. And if you specialize in dementia care, you have a unique ability to facilitate our seniors’ remaining abilitiesat every stage of Alzheimer’s/dementia.

With your understanding of the relationship between cognitive dysfunction and occupational performance, you break activities down into steps to help your clients complete tasks. And you know that even if a person does only part of an activity, the sense of purpose that you help them maintain or reclaim helps them feel less frustration and more fulfillment.

As the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease [PDF] and other forms of dementia soars, spreading the word about the important work you do is essential. Here are five ways to promote your profession during OT Month this month, and all year.
  1. Educate the public.
    Let people know that every elder who’s a Medicare beneficiary has the right to receive OT services. Prepare a talk about Medicare coverage and how OT can help [PDF]. Offer to present your speech to a church group, senior center, Rotary Club, local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, etc. Distribute tip sheets or link attendees to this article on dementia care.
  2. Train and support a family caregiver.
    If you know someone who has a family member with dementia, take time to share strategies with them for helping their loved one do activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Help a family member support their loved one’s highest level of function.
  3. Tell your coworkers.
    Give a quick presentation at your clinic, facility, home health agency, or organization about the health benefits of OT for clients with dementia. Inform your colleagues through fliers, email, or bulletin board notices.
  4. Promote OT on social media.
    Want to connect with other OTs? Check out #OccupationalTherapy and #OTMonth on Twitter. You might even find families looking for your expertise in helping their loved ones lead fuller lives.
  5. Join our dementia care community.
    We’re bringing together OTs, families, nurses, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospitals, designers, builders, and others who want to create a Dementia Capable Society. To learn more, join our community on Facebook and let us know how you’re part of the solution too.
From evaluation to intervention to positive outcomes, your skills are essential to helping people function safely and feel a stronger sense of well-being. Thank you for everything you do!

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