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Resources to improve safety for people with dementia

Published in Rehabilitation Services, For the Health of It Author: Katrina V. Sand, OTR/L

How do you know if someone you suspect has dementia can safely live alone? St Cloud Hospital’s Adult Rehabilitation department, located at the CentraCare Health Plaza, does comprehensive Functional Cognitive Safety Evaluations to help answer this question.

Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, but at least two out of five core mental functions must be significantly impaired to classify as dementia:

  1. Memory
  2. Communication and language
  3. Ability to focus and pay attention
  4. Reasoning and judgment
  5. Visual perception

Once a physician or health care provider orders the evaluation, the Functional Cognitive Safety Evaluation is conducted by an occupational therapist (OT). It features comprehensive, standardized assessments to identify specific areas of concern. The results provide a fair, objective evaluation of memory and other thinking skills that are necessary to live safely and independently.

If the evaluation results suggest that challenges with memory and thinking skills are present, individualized education, based on findings, will be provided. For instance, the OT will provide education on how these challenges may impact everyday life and give practical recommendations for improved safety and function. This may include topics like medication safety, fall prevention, financial management, home maintenance and driving safety.

If additional assistance is needed, referrals may be made to appropriate care providers for services such as physical therapy, speech therapy, social work and community resources. The goal is to connect people with the appropriate resources to meet their changing needs.

Learn more

  • Assess an older loved one’s health
  • Limit risk for falls
  • Prevent falls in your home
  • Medical alert system
  • Moving to a senior living community