How an Allied Health Professional can help you to live well with dementia

The 15th October 2018 marked the first ever national Allied Health Professionals day in the UK – a chance for us to recognise the amazing and crucial role Allied Health Professionals (AHP) play in healthcare and wellbeing.

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On the day I took the opportunity to chat about the support Allied Health Professions can offer to help people live well with dementia:

What is an allied health professional? Whether it’s when I’m hosting an Alzheimer Scotland AHP stand or with people who attend our Alzheimer Scotland services, to even simply have a blether and a catch up, it’s question I often hear.  My reply is always the same: we’re a collective group of health care professionals that include Arts Therapists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Orthopists, Orthotist, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists Prosthetists, Radiographers, and Speech and Language Therapists.

For AHP Day, we really wanted to spread the word about the positive impact Allied Health Professionals can make for people living with dementia.

All allied health professionals will most probably meet someone living with dementia at some point in their professional or personal lives, so we often say that dementia is “every AHP’s business” and our common goal is to enable people living with dementia and their family carers to have positive, fulfilling and independent lives for as long as possible.

So how can the advice of Allied Health Professionals benefit people living with dementia? Occupational Therapist, for example, can enable people to continue to work after a diagnosis. They can suggest adjustments such as reducing background noise, flexibility with breaks, use of memory prompts and organising the desk with only the necessary tools required for the job.

Here are some more examples of the type of advice AHPs provide, we are also featured on our twitter account @AHPdementia:

Adapting everyday environments

In the garden consider the heights of fences, raised areas such as flower beds & decorative path edges. If low or blend into the garden they may become a trip hazard. Consider increasing heights & having contrasting colours.

Maximising Physical Wellbeing

There are many benefits to incorporating physical activity into people’s routines including prevention of mobility problems

 Maximising Psychological Wellbeing

If you are a family member or friend of someone living with dementia, encourage them to keep doing all the activities that they enjoy when they can to help boost wellbeing – it can often be helpful to also join in yourself.

Supporting families and carers

If a person living with dementia is reminiscing, you could help capture these memories by looking at photographs, looking up places they talk about on the internet. You could even put together a scrapbook or storybook so they could be looked & talked about at any time

Want to find out more?

You can join the conversation across social media via #AHPConnectingPeople where a Allied Health Professionals also talk about the important roles their sector can play, and the tips which can make a difference via this blog and over our Instagram and twitter account: @AHPDementia.

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In Scotland, the AHP approach in dementia has been developed which aims to maximise the AHP contribution to high quality, cost effective dementia services that are tailored to the needs of the individual, reflects the best available evidence and is delivered by a skilled AHP workforce.  The AHP approach focuses on 5 key areas, which should be considered within the overall AHP assessment and rehabilitation approach for the people we support. You can find out more about AHP dementia policy by searching for #AHPConnectingPeople or heading to www.alzscot.org/ahp.

Thanks for reading this blog post and we would love to hear how you celebrated the day #AHPsDay

 Useful resources

You see what happened across the UK on the 15th October using #AHPsDay or #AHPsDayScot

You can join in the conversation with allied health professionals everyday using @AHPDementia and #AHPConnectingPeople

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