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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2010

31 - Rehabilitation of dementia

from Section B3 - Cognitive neurorehabilitation

Summary

Rehabilitation assessments and treatments focus on performance of mundane functions essential to negotiate through everyday life. While these activities are mundane, they can be viewed as cognitively complex for an individual with dementia. Despite loss of cognitive functions, new or alternative ways of participating in everyday life rituals can be developed during rehabilitation. Individualized assessment of cognition and behavior becomes essential to define their profiles of cognitive and behavioral weaknesses, and strengths. Rehabilitation treatments have emphasized the processes of learning/relearning of skills that may be viewed as simple motor tasks, but really are cognitively quite complex for someone with dementia. Caregivers define the interpersonal and physical environment around the individual with dementia. There is exploratory evidence from functional imaging studies of the brain that there is an adequate cerebral substrate at the tissue level in individuals with mild to moderate severity of dementia to support behaviorally based learning during rehabilitation.