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Techniques to Assist with Dementia

This video clip shows how to use tactile (touching) cues and the hand under hand technique to assist your loved one in the tasks of daily living. Verbal cues and visual cues are also important (time: 1 minute 30 seconds).

 

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and many other types of dementia, such as Pick’s disease, also known as Frontotemporal dementia, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, may require assistance with daily living activities, such as eating and grooming. In order to assist an individual with dementia with these types of tasks, there are specific techniques that can be utilized, such as tactile cues and hand-over-hand assistance. Putting these skills to use can make assisting an individual with dementia much easier and more effective than simply telling the person what to do.

Tactile cues, which are touch prompts, are used to assist a dementia patient in feeling the body part that you want them to use. (Touching a specific body part brings the individual’s attention to that particular body part.) For instance, if an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is supposed to be eating a meal, but has gotten distracted and stopped eating, you would touch their hand. This gentle and simple touch serves as a physical reminder for that individual to continue feeding oneself.

Hand-over-hand technique is one that is useful if the dementia patient requires a bit more assistance than that of a tactile cue. First, extend your hand to the individual and take their hand as if you are going to shake it, but rather than shake it, smoothly maneuver your hand up and around their hand, allowing you to clasp their hand, your thumbs placed together. This clasp is what gives you control of the other individual’s movements, both big and small. Through the hand-over-hand technique, you will be able to control the dementia patient’s wrist, forearm, elbow, and shoulder. With this technique, you can assist the individual with using a utensil, such as a fork, and feeding oneself. While you are the one with the skill and providing the manipulation (your hand will be the one holding the utensil), the individual is able to go through the motions of the activity with your assistance.

This video clip shows how to use tactile (touching) cues and the hand under hand technique to assist your loved one in the tasks of daily living. Verbal cues and visual cues are also important (time: 1 minute 30 seconds).

Learn how to use tactile (touching) cues and the hand under hand technique to assist persons with dementia in the tasks of daily living.