Let's work together!
Scroll down for more information about each of these services.
For specific recommendations in handling day to day care challenges
Offered to care partners in PA and NJ
For identifying what types of resources may benefit you or your family member living with dementia
Offered to care partners in any location
For professionals seeking guidance on supporting clients with dementia, starting a practice, or integrating Skills2Care® into an existing practice
For Handling Day to Day Challenges
Your occupational therapy (OT) consultant will collaborate with you to prioritize your challenges, identify why a particular challenge/behavior is happening, and brainstorm strategies to reduce this challenge/behavior.
For example, you may tell us that your husband (he/him) living with dementia has been resisting bathing. Our OT consultant will work with you to figure out why he is resisting bathing and will collaborate with you to develop strategies to reduce his resistance to bathing.
We use the evidence-based Skills2Care® program, developed by leading dementia researcher, Dr. Laura Gitlin and colleagues, to inform our consultation sessions.
Scroll down for examples of common challenges and for a case example.
We offer 30 and 60 minute consultation sessions.
Due to our professional licenses, consultations can only be provided to care partners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey at this time. These consultations are not occupational therapy treatment sessions; therefore, they are not reimbursed by health insurance.
We have experience with a variety of challenges when caring for someone living with dementia. Here are a few examples:
Boredom, lack of activity engagement
Difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs) including dressing, toileting, meal preparation, medication management, etc.
Distressing beliefs, hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
Pacing or restlessness
Physical or verbal aggression
Repeating words, phrases, actions, or questions (ex: asking to go "home", packing bags to "go to work", etc.)
Resisting care or help (ex. resisting bathing, toileting, medications, etc.)
Rummaging or hoarding
Wandering in the home or outside of the home
Waking up at night
Consultation Case Example
This is one example of how your OT consultant may support you.
Mary was caring for her mother, Susan, who had an unspecified type of dementia. Prior to the onset of dementia, Susan was a professional artist, raised 3 children, and managed many of the household tasks such as dishes and laundry.
During her first session with the occupational therapy (OT) consultant, Mary provided important background and context for the occupational therapist including Susan's work and social history, the home layout, and any past activities enjoyed by Susan. Mary also identified the following challenges in caring for her mother:
1. Susan was waking up about 3-4 times in the middle of the night most nights, often pacing through the home
2. Susan was often resisting taking medications
3. Susan was often bored or inactive during the day
The occupational therapy consultant also worked with Mary to ensure she had her own stress reduction strategies and that she was adequately caring for herself in this process.
Mary confirmed that her mom's waking at night and pacing in the home upon waking were the top priority for this session. The OT consultant worked with Mary to identify why this challenge/behavior was occurring. The OT consultant did this by engaging Mary in the Skills2Care® program's problem-solving process and used their knowledge of dementia care models and recent research. In this case, it was determined that Susan was likely waking at night due to:
Limited activity engagement during the day, often leading to naps
Drinking caffeinated tea before bed
Mirrors in the bedroom made Susan think someone was in the room with her
With this information in mind, the OT consultant and Mary developed strategies for how to reduce Susan's waking at night and pacing, and they developed strategies for how to respond to and handle Susan's behaviors when they did occur.
The OT consultant provided Mary with a Skills2Care® Action Plan for her mom's waking and pacing at night, incorporating all of the strategies identified in Session 2 along with any additional strategies from available research.
These strategies included items such as:
- Removing/covering the mirrors in Susan's bedroom
- Enhancing Susan's activity engagement during the day
- Communication strategies for how to engage her in activity
- Recommendations for specific, meaningful activities and how to adapt them to enhance Susan's participation including
- Painting, including how to set-up the necessary items
- Washing dishes, including how to adapt the task
- Folding laundry, including how to adapt the task
- Activities to do with her grandchildren
- Limiting opportunities for Susan to nap during the day
- Providing Susan with her preferred tea at lunch time or considering another hot beverage for the evening such as hot water with lemon.
The OT consultant reviewed this action plan with Mary to ensure she felt comfortable and confident using the recommend strategies and made any necessary adaptations to the action plan. Mary and the OT consultant practiced/role played these strategies, as appropriate.
Once Mary reported that she felt confident in her implementation of the recommended strategies for handling Susan's waking/pacing at night, the OT consultant and Mary then began to address Mary's second priority, which was Susan's resistance to taking medication. Future sessions followed the same general structure.
* It is possible that your OT consultant may be able to support you in fewer sessions. If you are already clear on the target problem area you would like to address, we may be able to jump right into a problem-solving session during our first visit.
Feel free to book time with Rachel if the following applies:
You reside outside of PA and NJ and are seeking general guidance for resources that may be available to you and your family member living with dementia.
Please note, due to licensing laws, Rachel will not be able to provide you with specific recommendations for how to care for your family member. She may be able to offer you general resources and connect you with a Skills2Care® occupational therapist near you.
Feel free to book time with Rachel if any of the following apply:
Students or professionals interested in integrating dementia care (including the Skills2Care® program) into a new or existing business.
Professionals interested in expanding their dementia care business.
Professionals seeking clinical guidance related to dementia care and treatment.
Professionals interested in dementia care information to guide product/community development or design.
Rachel is also a Certified Master Trainer of Skills2Care® and has the privilege of training OTPs around the world. If you are an OT or OTA interested in Skills2Care® certification, please check out our "sister" site, The Dementia Collaborative.