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Top 10 Constant Therapy exercises used by dementia patients

Constant Therapy | Dementia, Alzheimer's

The number of people living with dementia increases dramatically each year

It’s estimated that more than 55 million people are affected by dementia globally, a number expected to almost double every 20 years. According to ASHA, people with dementia represent the third-largest caseload for speech language pathologists working in U.S. healthcare. 

Here, we will help you recognize symptoms of dementia, understand the goals of therapy, and identify the Constant Therapy tasks that our data shows is used to exercise those with dementia most often.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an umbrella term, describing a wide range of symptoms, and there are multiple types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, primary progressive aphasia, and vascular dementia. Dementia is a clinical syndrome characterized by persistent progressive deterioration. It usually affects people older than 65 years of age. 

The symptoms of dementia may cause individuals to withdraw from activities and relationships

Dementia affects a variety of cognitive functions including attention, memory, communication & speech, reasoning, and visual perception, and can also result in:

  • Apathy & Depression
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Disorientation
  • Behavioral Changes

Due to these symptoms, dementia can cause individuals to withdraw from activities, family and friends. However, maintaining these activities and relationships are the very things that may reduce the effects of cognitive impairment. Therefore, it appears beneficial for people with dementia (PWD) to explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help maintain a level of independence longer. 

The goal of cognitive therapy: stimulate cognitive areas as they relate to activities of daily living

In 2021, a study titled Clinical Study of the Effectiveness of Constant Therapy in the Treatment of Clients With Dementia: Implications for Telepractice, was conducted by researchers Debra L. Edgar and Peggy L. Bargmann of the University of Central Florida’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinic at Brain Fitness Academy (BFA), and published in Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups. The study concluded that Constant Therapy is a manageable and effective intervention for people living with dementia.

People living with dementia often receive rehabilitation services including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy. In speech-language therapy, exercises often target dysphagia (swallowing problems), cognition, and communication. There are different approaches in cognitive-communication treatment, which can involve stimulating cognitive areas through activity, specific training for the underlying cognitive domain, and treating affected behaviors and skills as it relates to activities of daily living.

Analysis: how is Constant Therapy being used with this population?

An analysis of Constant Therapy users took a look at individuals using the app, who identified as living with dementia, and what tasks are assigned to them most frequently by their clinicians.

In this analysis, we looked at data on 30,200 users who identified with a diagnosis of dementia at sign-up. This group of users completed an average of 218 tasks each, for a total of 6.5 million tasks.

The Constant Therapy tasks listed below are the 10 most frequently assigned by clinicians for their clients with dementia. 

The top 10 Constant Therapy exercises assigned by clinicians to their clients with dementia

1. Match pictures: In this working memory task, the patient must recall the location of everyday pictures. 
Individuals Assigned: 14,327 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 47%

Cognitive Therapy exercise: Match pictures

 2. Find the same symbolsTargets a variety of skills often affected by dementia, including attention, visuospatial processing, and executive functioning. With 10 levels of difficulty, higher levels provide an increased challenge by adding more symbols in the grid and more distractions.
Individuals Assigned: 13,810 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 46%

Dementia therapy exercise: match the symbols

3. Put steps in orderSequencing steps to daily activities often affect people living with dementia. In this executive functioning task, you are presented with the steps to daily activities and must drag these steps into the correct order. 
Individuals Assigned: 13,633 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 45%

Improve or maintain cognition by practicing putting steps in order

4. Do clock mathDementia can affect an individual’s ability to do daily tasks such as reading a clock or calculating time. This task target skills in visuospatial processing, memory, and calculations. Do clock math has 3 levels of difficulty where individuals must calculate the time (e.g. what time will it be in a half hour). 
Individuals Assigned: 10,091 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 33%

Clock math cognitive therapy exercises

5. Remember pictures in order (N-back)This memory exercises is specifically targeting an aspect of working memory called updating. There are 3 levels of difficulty. In Level 1, you must remember the order of the pictures from 1 picture ago. In level 3 you must recall 3 pictures ago
Individuals Assigned: 9,555 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 32%

N-back cognitive therapy exercise: remember the picture

6. Follow instructions you hear: Follow instructions you hear works on auditory memory and auditory comprehension through following directions. There are 10 levels of difficulty.  Level 1 starts with 1-step directions, and upper levels become more challenging with longer directions, temporal instructions, and increased demands on working memory.
Individuals Assigned: 9,245 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 31%

Follow instructions you hear activity

7. Repeat a patternThis task works on attention, visual working memory, and visuospatial skills. There are 12 levels of difficulty with Level 1 requiring a recall of a 4-item pattern in a small grid, and Level 12 requiring recall of a 10-item pattern in a large grid
Individuals Assigned: 7,869 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 26%

Repeat a Pattern cognitive exercise

8. Remember the right cardThis task works on attention, disinhibition, and processing speed. The patient is presented with a playing card to remember and tap on that card whenever it is presented in a series of cards. There are 3 levels, which each level increasing in speed.
Individuals Assigned: 7,806 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 26%

Remember the right card activity for dementia patients

9. Read a clockThis task helps people with cognitive, speech, or language disorders improve daily living skills by reading an analog clock and answering questions about the time
Individuals Assigned: 7,293 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 24%

Read a clock cognitive therapy exercise

10. Read a calendarThis task helps people with cognitive, speech, or language disorders improve their skills in interpreting, planning, and managing daily activities within a calendar.
Individuals Assigned: 6,279 Percent of Users Identified As Living With Dementia: 21%

Read a calendar exercises

If you are looking for Constant Therapy tasks to assign to your patients with dementia, consider starting by leveraging the expertise of the clinicians who came before you. After all, Constant Therapy is created by clinicians, for clinicians. 

References:

 

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3 Comments

  1. Louiko Sunday

    Repeat a pattern still does not show the last target chosen, when correct.

    Reply
    • Constant Therapy

      Hi Louiko! Our apologies that you are having technical issues with that task. We would love to learn more about it and help get it resolved. Please feel free to contact us at support@constanttherapy.com

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Logullo

    These are wonderful ideas for someone in the early or mid stage of Alzheimer’s. For someone with more advanced dementia, a specially trained dementia care provider can offer ability-appropriate activities to keep the person engaged and to promote self-esteem and worth.

    Reply

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