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How Can Rehabilitation Therapy Benefit Dementia Care?

In this episode, we have three rehabilitation professionals joining us: Cindy, who is a physical therapist, Christina, who is a speech therapist, and me, an occupational therapist. Together, we discuss how rehabilitation therapy can benefit individuals living with dementia and their family caregivers.

We explore the impactful role of rehabilitation therapy in dementia care. The episode offers valuable insights into how physical, occupational, and speech therapies can significantly aid those living with dementia.

Cindy and Christina founded AECorner in 2015 because they saw too many seniors struggling every day to care for themselves. The majority of their clients have the same goal and that is to remain as independent as possible in their homes. Many times, this goal can be achieved by simply having the right tools.

AECorner.com is a trusted resource for family caregivers looking for equipment and techniques to help senior loved ones safely age in place and help caregivers work smarter and not harder while providing daily care.
AECorner’s mission is to increase senior and caregiver safety during daily care and to improve and maintain the individual’s highest level of functional independence at home.

Why Someone With Dementia Really Needs Rehabilitation Therapy

0:03:19 The Trifecta: PT, OT, and ST Working Together
0:12:02 Importance of Communication in Dementia Care
0:14:12 Advocating for Early Access to Therapy Services
0:17:14 Recognizing the Importance of Change in Condition
0:19:19 The Power of the Phrase "Change in Condition"
0:27:29 Path of Treatment for Dementia Caregiving
0:29:55 Importance of Trust and Personal Connection in Dementia Care
0:37:06 Practical Tips for Caregivers and Value of Subscription Model
0:39:02 Connecting with the Caregiver Support Team at AECorner.com
0:40:12 Pouring Heart and Soul into Serving Success Seekers

Throughout the episode, Cindy and Christina share their experiences and explain how they help individuals living with dementia through their respective therapies.

Cindy, with her 30 years of experience in home health, and Christina, who has spent most of her career treating people in long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, emphasize the importance of collaboration between physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy when working with individuals living with dementia.

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

The episode emphasizes the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach in dementia care. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists collaborate to provide comprehensive care tailored to each individual’s needs. This collaborative effort ensures that all aspects of a person’s well-being are addressed.

Physical Therapy: Enhancing Mobility and Independence

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in maintaining mobility and independence in individuals with dementia. We discuss various strategies and exercises that help improve movement, balance, and overall physical health. These interventions are crucial in preserving the quality of life for the person living with dementia.

Occupational Therapy: Simplifying Daily Life

Occupational therapy is all about enhancing the daily living skills of individuals with dementia. We share techniques to make everyday tasks simpler and safer. These interventions focus on adapting the environment and routines to fit the changing abilities of people living with dementia.

Speech Therapy: Communication and Swallowing

We highlight the work of speech therapists in improving communication and swallowing difficulties common in dementia. They share strategies to enhance communication with person living with dementia, even in the advanced stages of the disease. The importance of addressing swallowing issues to prevent complications like pneumonia is also discussed.

The Role of Caregivers

A significant portion of the episode is dedicated to guiding caregivers. We offer practical tips on how caregivers can integrate therapeutic techniques into daily care routines. We also stress the importance of caregiver education and involvement in the therapy process.

Conclusion: Empowering Caregivers and Person Living with Dementia

This episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone involved in dementia care. It illustrates the powerful impact rehabilitation therapies can have in improving the lives of those with dementia and offers practical advice for caregivers to integrate these therapies into everyday care.


How do you see rehabilitation therapy fitting into your dementia care strategy?

Share your thoughts and experiences with us.


You can find Christina and Cindy on:
YouTube: https://youtube.com/c/AdaptiveEquipmentCorner
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adaptiveequipmentcorner
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aecorner15
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cindy-and-christina-aec
Amazon Shop: https://amzn.to/4b95D7S

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Transcript

Introduction to Rehabilitation Professionals

[0:01] Well, you are in for a special treat today.

Today, you get to hear from three rehabilitation professionals.

We have Cindy, who is a physical therapist, Christina, who is a speech therapist, and then me, who is an occupational therapist.

And we're talking about how rehabilitation therapy can benefit your loved one or you as a family caregiver when you're helping a person living with dementia.

And I invite you to stick around to the end.

Christina and Cindy have a wonderful offer for you.

And then remember, if you are ready to work with me a little bit closer related to helping a family member living with dementia, I invite you to go and register for my free monthly workshop, and the link is in the show notes below.

Welcome to Dementia Caregiving for Families

[1:03] Hey there, success seeker. Welcome to Dementia Caregiving for Families.

Do you feel overwhelmed with the daily struggle of dementia caregiving, looking for an easier path?

You're in the right place. On this podcast, we teach you the skills to simplify caregiving.

We unravel the mystery of dementia and guide you through the often difficult behaviors.

I'm Lizette, your host and fellow family caregiver.

As an occupational therapist, I bring my professional and personal personal experience to this community.

Here we speak the truth, but without the verbal vomit.

I know you will find value in today's program, so buckle up while this flight takes off.

[1:58] Welcome back to today's episode of Dementia Caregiving for Families.

And I am very excited today to have two guests, two very special guests.

And they're special because they are therapists like me.

And we are going to talk a little bit about physical therapy and occupational therapy and speech therapy related to dementia and dementia caregiving.

But my guests today are Cindy. She is a physical therapist.

And Christina, she is a speech therapist. And so I'd like the ladies to take it away and tell us a little bit about themselves and how they help people living with dementia. Excellent.

So my name is Cindy, a physical therapist. I have been in practice for about 30 years now, and the majority of my time has been spent in home health.

And I'll let Christina take it away as far as herself and our business. And I'm Christina.

I am a speech therapist and I have most of my career has been spent in treating people in long term care and rehabilitation facilities and long term care.

I have been doing this for probably close to 25 years, maybe 20, 25 years.

[3:07] And as speech therapy and occupational therapy, I think it's interesting, Liz, that with us being we're like the trifecta, right? We're like the dream team, right? We got PT, OT, and ST.

The Trifecta: PT, OT, and ST Working Together

[3:19] And the occupational therapy, in my opinion, is kind of that connection between PT and, And Esty, you guys always, you either work, you work with the, you work on your own or you work with PT or you work with speech therapy.

And so, um, I just, I just think that's, I just think that's fascinating.

And if anybody, you know, you get a chance to, to talk to, to the OTs and speech and PT and stuff, it's, I just think it'd be a great service for you to get to, to just ask people about their, uh, their therapy experiences.

But the majority of my time has been in long-term care In particular, we had almost every long-term care facility I worked in, we had a dementia care unit.

[4:01] I loved working in the dementia care unit. I loved working with my residents that were living with dementia.

Lots of times what we did, we would work on, you know, in particular, we would work a lot on swallowing. Swallowing was an issue.

But we would also work on some cognitive things. You know, it wasn't even so much about training or educating as just getting that kind of that using that rote memory or that procedural memory and making it work for that for that particular individual or working with the staff and show them ways to work with their resident that they are working with and what works best for their resident, you know, because it's not a it's not a one size fits all kind of treatment thing.

And so I think that's why I like most about working with people living with dementia was you got to know, you got to know them and know a little bit of who they were, what they did for a living, you know, and you get to reminisce with them about it, you know, and, you know, for speech therapy is huge.

You know, that's a great way to communicate with people. Yeah.

[5:07] But we also work with the swallowing stuff as well, because it's one of the, you know, it seems to be one of the things that as dementia progresses, people lose their ability to swallow safely.

And we get a lot of people that are aspirating and they get pneumonia and it increases the risk for pneumonia.

So it's, yeah, I absolutely love working not only with the residents, but also working with the family, the family caregivers too.

For sure. Well, we have a lot in common because I agree with you.

The occupational therapist is the bridge between the physical therapist and the speech therapist.

But what I've always found fascinating is if you spend enough time around PTs and OTs and speech therapists, we're actually very different people.

[5:51] We gravitate specifically towards a specific discipline with the OT being the one that can flip either one way or the other. I always joked and called myself the MacGyver OT because I could make anything.

Yes, that's right. That's right. And as a PT, I'm always very jealous of that.

I mean, I kind of live vicariously, but, you know, I'm like, maybe I should go back to school and do both.

Yeah, I think Cindy, Mr. Collins, she should have been an OT.

Yeah, I've met a few. I've met a few. So what would you guys say to people who are listening, who are family caregivers, who who have maybe heard from other people that it doesn't make any sense because the person living with dementia isn't going to be able to be rehabilitated, right?

They can't necessarily improve.

[6:41] So it's not beneficial for them to necessarily receive PT or OT or speech therapy.

And doctors will say that to people.

I've had people say that to me. So what would you say to a family member who has that in their mind and what can we say to help them understand that there's a tremendous benefit that we as the rehab professionals offer to these people and their family members related to dementia caregiving, even if the person couldn't get quote unquote better? Right.

Yeah. Right. Right. As I mean, as a physical therapist, my first thing is, is, you know, you know, because when you get those doctors that say, well, there's nothing there's nothing that you can do.

You know, there's to me, first of all, you have to try.

And second of all, you don't ever want your loved one or your your, you know, client just sitting and doing nothing because we don't think there's anything that can be done.

You know, there is always a combination of things.

There are always many different things to try.

And I know, you know, I've seen a lot of dementia clients.

And as far as that goes, everybody's at their different level.

But to me, you know, whether it's verbal cues or tactile cues or that procedural.

[8:04] You know, let's do some counting. Let's do some, you know, getting things in a sequence that maybe they can recall.

[8:13] Anything like that to, in my opinion, as a PT, I want them up and moving.

I want them doing as much as they can because, you know, we're not, you know, it just infuriates me when, you know, we're not just going to not do anything for them.

We want them to be as functional as they can be.

Functionally independent. I think that's the big thing. independent it looks different it does look different it does and you don't have to do it all yourself but there can be certain levels and and and yeah so we need to when the doctor it gets me up and it makes me that my hair set on fire when the doctor is saying no there's really no there's no use oh please do not say that yes i i 100 concur and and and one of the big things that i that i want people to understand about pt specifically related to dementia and dementia caregiving specifically at home is there's so many tricks and techniques that the physical therapist can teach you to actually make it easier to move that person.

That's right. Absolutely. But if you don't know those tips and tricks, then you're making your job as the family caregiver 10 times harder because now you're working against what the person living with dementia is doing.

[9:31] Doing because the caregiver doesn't understand. Right. Yeah. Right. Absolutely.

Absolutely. I'm just going to say, I, to me, I feel like the functional independence.

[9:43] You know, and letting it, maybe it's something that they have done their entire adult life.

Right. But maybe that skill has slipped a little bit and maybe they need cue cards or maybe you need to set the toothbrush, toothpaste out on the counter so that that's their, their visual cue.

You right right it says besides being functionally independent the dignity that for me is the biggest part of it is allowing this fully grown adult to be able to maintain their functional independence with dignity that is top of mind for me whenever i treat people so yeah absolutely well you bring something up really interesting christina related to the you know the toothbrush and so on i'll I'll never forget when when working with so many family members, one of my first cues, like when I go see people is I always take them to the restroom.

Always. That's my my big way of seeing how they're able to process their environment and what they can do.

[10:40] But I'm also very observant in the bathroom and I'm very observant of the mouth care.

Right because we all all three of us know that if if your mouth care goes away then you're more prone to getting pneumonia and other things like that but then you'll have family caregivers say something like well mom's not brushing her teeth anymore well mom's physically able to but mom can't think through the process right so having these these tricks and techniques for families then to understand how to actually keep that functional independence, I think is so important.

[11:20] Did you know that caring for a person with dementia doesn't have to be this hard?

If you are struggling and you would like to join our next free workshop, the topic of the workshop is Three Tips How to Avoid Challenging Dementia Behaviors Without Stress, Anxiety, or Burnout.

I invite you to walk away with science-backed dementia caregiving skills that many professionals don't even know after attending this free workshop.

Importance of Communication in Dementia Care

[12:02] If you'd like to register, message me the word workshop on Instagram or check out the link in the show notes below.

Yeah, it really is. And just the dignity and stuff that goes along with it.

It reminds me of, I had a resident when I was in long-term care that I was seeing, she perseverated.

She'd had a stroke and she perseverated on the word whatever. whatever and so she you could tell I mean first of all the word whatever it can be off-putting as far as communication if you could have picked another whatever but you could always tell what mood she was in based on how she responded with the word whatever and so I would go hey you know it's Christina and let's do some speech therapy and if she was okay she'd be like whatever you know but if she was upset she would cry out whatever whatever and so then it was up to you to figure out what was going on so I was working with her at a table one day and I walked up to her and I said, Hey, you know what?

[13:02] Today's my birthday. Will you sing the happy birthday song? I've been working with this woman for a month or so. And she's like, and she and so whatever, whatever, whatever.

And so when I said, Today's my birthday, can you sing the birthday song to me?

She sang the birthday song to me word for word, because she used to sing in a choir.

And she and she sang the happy birthday song. We've all sung it a million times, right?

But she's right there and sang the whole birthday song to me.

And I was just like, and it to me, it was just a big reminder that we are still communicative.

[13:32] Human beings, regardless of where you're at in that process with dementia, you know, it's, you know, even if it's yes and no, even if it's yes, you know, or no, or a shoulder shrug or turning one way to your head, there's still things that we could do to communicate to our love, you know, sitting there with a magazine and going and doing that reminiscing with a magazine or, Or, you know, just looking at things and co-attending to the same activity.

Activity, right, for sure. And setting them up for saying yes or no.

Or just, you know, even if it's just a grunt or whatever, it's still communication.

Advocating for Early Access to Therapy Services

[14:12] For sure. Now, probably to me the biggest thing is that you and me and Cindy, we know this because we breathe this every single day.

But when you're a family caregiver at home and you haven't been around this because, quite frankly, you know, one of two things have happened.

Your doctor hasn't diagnosed it because doctors don't want to diagnose dementia because they believe there's nothing that we can do.

So, therefore, why am I going to tell this family that this person has dementia, which I think is a big, big mistake.

Or you're at the beginning process you have a diagnosis of dementia but you're still functioning you're still coping you're you're um i use the analogy it's a terrible analogy about the frog you know the frog in cold water and because you're coping and coping and coping you don't necessarily recognize or know because you've not been around a pt and ot and a speech therapist therapist, that how much easier your life can be if you ask your doctor to actually access these services earlier on.

[15:28] I'll use Cindy as an example. Mm-hmm.

I have a client that I'm working with right now in my group that the family told me one day, oh, but dad falls.

He fell. I'm like, ding, ding, ding. I'm like, how many times has your dad fallen?

Oh, well, it's only like once or twice a week.

And I'm like, what do you mean once or or twice a week, not even one fall, right?

So if a person falls at home, the automatic thing should be call your doctor and get a prescription for a physical therapy evaluation because falling is not normal, right?

We know that, but families don't. And the same thing with Christina with with speech therapy.

If mom or dad is eating and you notice that they're coughing or choking, that is not normal.

And they need a speech therapist. Or if mom or dad can't get in and out of the tub, it is not normal.

You should be asking your doctor for referrals for therapy.

[16:45] Because there is so much more that we can, whether it be at home in a long-term care facility, in an assisted living, wherever, like we talked about earlier before we even got on the recording is that, that we need, we need families to understand that they need to advocate for themselves.

Yeah. Yeah, they really do. They really do. And you know, the, the big thing that.

Recognizing the Importance of Change in Condition

[17:14] Change in condition. Yeah. Change in condition. And it can be a small change if they're not doing what they were doing before.

If something has happened, in my opinion, that can trigger at least an evaluation.

[17:28] Absolutely. You know, and so that's what we always try to encourage.

You know, you've got to get on the phone to your doctor and use the word change in condition.

My family members had a change in condition. That's a magic, magic phrase. Right. I love that, Cindy.

Thank you for saying that, because it is up to us to teach families what to say to like I'm a health care provider.

I don't know if you guys are family caregivers yet or not, but I as a health care provider, I have had a hard time getting the doctor to just to navigate this for my for my dad. I'll use my dad as an example.

I noticed his cognitive impairment about two years before the shoe dropped, right?

He was scammed out of some money around Christmas, but he was still functioning pretty good.

So, you know, you can't get involved sometimes until you can get involved.

But when he got super sick about two years ago, and I was able to actually get into his medical record and look at it I read through everything two years before that like around the time he was scammed the doctor actually asked him his primary care doctor actually asked him has anybody told you you're having a hard time remembering things.

[18:46] Wow. And guess what? The answer was yes, my daughter.

And guess what? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Right? So if us as healthcare providers, the takeaway for people is if we as healthcare providers have a hard time navigating the healthcare system, it is more challenging for people who are not healthcare providers.

And it's up to us as health care providers to teach them what to do.

The Power of the Phrase "Change in Condition"

[19:19] So the words change in condition is exactly what you need to do.

So I actually want to switch tracks just a little bit and talk to Christina.

And the reason I want to talk to Christina is a couple of, well, number one, it's near and dear to my heart.

But we were talking earlier in the conversation about aspiration, right? Right.

Which for people who don't know what that means, just means something went down the wrong way.

Can you give people who are listening who might be helping somebody at home some things to look for related to when things are going down the wrong way?

Because like we said earlier on, eating and drinking is one of the things that ultimately causes people living with dementia to you not thrive anymore.

[20:14] Can you give people some things that they could look for at home?

Yeah, because, you know, first of all, not everybody, when something goes down the wrong tube, will cough. And we call that silent aspiration.

Anything that gets below your vocal cords and it's on its way down to your lungs, you've aspirated it. It doesn't matter if you specterate it.

It's still considered aspiration.

[20:35] And a lot of people can, some people can live with a lot of things going down in their lungs.

[20:41] And some people, it just takes one time. But usually the common denominator, common denominator is at some point in time, you might get pneumonia, you might get aspiration pneumonia.

[20:51] So looking for things that aren't obvious, like coughing or choking, would be like runny, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, you know, things that we don't necessarily equate to it.

Now if you let's say somebody's had a kind of maybe they they were sneezing after you know during a meal they were sneezing um it could something could be gone have gone down the wrong tube so i'd say maybe 30 minutes after the meal to an hour after the meal take their temperature people that actually aspirate because that's a foreign substance in the wrong place in your body right um it's in your lungs that it's a it's an invader to your body and you'll spike your temperature like you have an infection and so but you'll spike it and it'll go back down to normal so i usually tell my people you know if you're concerned about first of all tell your doctor first of all tell me how often this happens um and then make sure you let your doctor know because there are things you could there are x-rays a modified barium swallow study or what we call a cookie swallow study that can be done uh to actually watch your loved one chew and swallow swallow this barium cookie uh and watch it go down and see where it's getting hung up or is it going down the wrong tube is are you is it just penetrating to your vocal cords or are you aspirating it you know and we could just tell a lot from that um.

[22:12] So I would make sure that you let your physician know. But just those little tiny things, you know, watery eyes, runny nose, you might spike your temperature, maybe some throat clearing, not necessarily coughing.

[22:24] I want people to know, too, the difference between coughing and choking.

We get I had I was working with a woman for swallowing issues, and I had a CNA tell me that he gave my patient the Heimlich maneuver when she was choking.

Well, she wasn't choking. She was coughing. so she was able to get air because she could cough right a couple of her lungs giving her the heimlich maneuver yeah he broke her sorry her ribs giving her the heimlich maneuver when he really didn't need to and so i i needed to go in i went in and educated the cnas on what's the difference between the two so i think that's important too and you know something else this doesn't help and lifting your arms up over your head doesn't work and i'm on the bed that's not a thing we're just talking one of my favorite ones when when people are taking their pills and they throw their head back oh yeah i know you want to see a speech therapist do that around a speech therapist i mean whoa yeah don't talk your head back but it's i mean what we do that right yeah everybody does that everybody does for sure man yeah so those are some things to see one of the things that i find fascinating when i would work in home health or when I would be with somebody and, you know, some of the signs and symptoms that you talked about, they take a drink and then a couple of seconds later, they're clearing their throat or they're coughing or whatever.

[23:46] And then you'll ask the family or you ask whoever's in the room, so how often does your mom, you know, cough on drinking?

And oh no, that's always, she's been doing that for years or no, she's not choking.

She's not, it's not going down the wrong way. And yeah, so I want people to understand that every time...

[24:08] They put they're putting the person that they love at risk for getting pneumonia and pneumonia you know can put them in the hospital or it can alter change their life or even have them pass away because of the pneumonia so it's i always tell my patients ammonia is nothing nothing to mess around with right yeah so my dad actually when he got sick two years ago i don't know if i ever shared this with you guys um but he he had two separate hospitalizations he was in the the hospital, kind of had COVID, lots of other stuff going on.

But I think during that period of time that he was in the hospital when he had COVID, he was so sick, he actually aspirated something.

[24:47] And 30 days later, we end back up in the hospital, he had a seven and a half centimeter by five centimeter abscess in his lungs from aspirating.

Wow. Yeah.

You know, changed his life you know wasn't swallowing problems he he was just so sick he aspirated something because he was so ill i mean you can aspirate your own secretions you know i've done that all you know a lot you know and it's still it's still aspirating and even though it's your own secretions the mouth is not a very clean environment you aspirate saliva even that has some bacteria it's down in your lungs and that increases your risk for developing aspiration pneumonia yeah It was scary. For sure.

Did you know that caring for a person with dementia doesn't have to be this hard?

[25:41] If you are struggling and you would like to join our next free workshop, the topic of the workshop is Three Tips How to Avoid Challenging Dementia Behaviors Without Stress, Anxiety, or Burnout.

I invite you to walk away with science-backed dementia caregiving skills that many professionals don't even know after attending this free workshop.

If you'd like to register, message me the word workshop on Instagram or check out the link in the show notes below.

Yeah. Wow. What a conversation. I wasn't expecting any of this.

Cindy actually mentioned something before we started the recording.

We were just kind of chatting about what we were going to talk about.

[26:42] Cindy, talk a little bit about when you go and work with people in home health, right? And you're either, there are two scenarios here.

You're working with a person who has dementia and a family caregiver is involved.

And then then you're working with a person who doesn't have dementia, but the family caregiver does have dementia and some of the challenges that those cause or results in when you're doing home health.

Right, right. You know, the biggest thing is the understanding of, you know, of the dementia, which whichever the involved patient or the caregiver in trying to figure out, you know.

Path of Treatment for Dementia Caregiving

[27:29] What is needed as far as the path of treatment to get past that?

Especially, you know, if you have a caregiver that's actually is the one that has dementia, you know, you start wanting to try to get other people involved, other family members involved to try to make sure that the caregiving is safe, you know, for the individual that is needing the care at that time.

But, you know, the individuals that we're treating with dementia, it's very interesting because, again, we talk about, you know, no one, no two people are the same.

And it's kind of a puzzle in trying to figure out what is it that's going to help their caregiver, you know, especially on the physical part for me, you know, getting them up, getting them off the toilet if they need more help.

There's been time and time again that you may go into a house and they're like, oh, you know, mom is not getting up. We're having to lift mom out of the chair and, you know, trying to just figure out that.

And maybe it's step by step, verbal and tactile touching cues, you know, and saying, OK, let's move this hand here and or hand over hand tactile cues.

You know, you take their hand and place it. And it's amazing to see because then the family member turns around like, wait a minute. How'd you do that? She just got up.

She's got the touch. Magic, right? right? It's magic. And then it's like a mic drop.

[28:57] Right. Yeah. And then, you know, I've been doing this long enough now that I have also realized that especially in later stage dementia, people with later stage dementia, that sometimes I'm not the right person, even though I have all the skills.

And I'll never forget this one particular gentleman. He's passed away now.

I stayed in touch with his family for a long, long time.

Sweetest, sweetest guy had a grandson.

[29:26] Who was his primary care partner and he would do anything for his grandson and I'll never forget this I had a student so now you know I'm I'm trying to be the the you know the the I got this right I got a student watching me I've got this patient with with severe end-stage dementia but he was ambulatory still and he you know he he wasn't speaking much anymore he spoke words but but he would laugh. He would always laugh at me.

Importance of Trust and Personal Connection in Dementia Care

[29:55] And I was trying to show her a technique to get him up out of a chair.

[30:02] And I know full well, give him enough time. So I gave him the prompt and I said, stand up. And we waited and we waited.

And then I tried the tactile cues. I did everything, everything to help that guy get up out of the chair.

On the, I stopped, I looked at my student i'm saying i'm like his grandson's gonna get him up yeah grandson walked over yeah grandpa come yeah hopped right up out of the chair yeah and i use that example because i want families to understand that you know it is a trust thing sometimes too for the person who has dementia, and if they don't trust the caregiver, whether it be a paid caregiver or not paid, like I was a paid caregiver at that moment, then they're not going to feel comfortable or safe in doing whatever it is that, you know, we can do.

But there's just so much benefit that that every person at every phase of a dementia caregiving journey can get from actually having skilled therapy in the house.

Right. Yeah. Right. But I also want to, you know, I'm going to throw therapists under the bus for a second.

[31:21] Not all therapists are created equal. Correct.

Not all therapists should be treating people living with dementia.

It's not their forte. Correct. Yeah.

Exactly. And so if you have a quote unquote, as a family, a bad experience with the therapist, perhaps coming in an OT who only does arm exercises with somebody who doesn't need arm exercises or, you know, whatever the case might be, just remember that that particular therapist might not be really good with working with people with dementia.

And that doesn't mean that the therapy didn't work, right? It just means that.

Pissed didn't work right or they might not mesh their personalities might not make we don't we all don't like the same people so right you know yeah right and i got in trouble a lot.

[32:12] You know and there again is is the advocacy you know and in in knowing hey it's okay to change yeah it's okay to ask for somebody different it's okay to go with a different company yeah um you know because you like you said we don't want them just to try once and stop yeah uh we certainly don't want that um so yeah i guarantee you the therapist has other patients they can see yeah you know and don't worry you're not you're not their fans yeah and if you've been a therapist longer than five minutes you know you're not going to mesh with everybody and it's okay and you're not going to fight in bulk because oh somebody said they're not right you know they can't work with you right it's okay we got pretty thick skins you know if you've been a health care provider for a while. Oh, yeah.

Tell us a little bit about what you guys do with Adaptive Equipment Corner.

[33:05] So, Cindy and I, we were still in our therapy careers at the time when we started it.

And at the time, we were both in home health. I was working in home health at the time, too.

And we were thinking, you know, because we just started bringing our laptops into the home, but we were still doing paperwork and stuff. We were making that transition.

So, Cindy and I I thought, you know, wouldn't it be helpful for us if we would make these little short videos of frequently asked questions that therapists get all the time, put them on YouTube for anybody to see, take our laptops and set our caregivers up with the videos, while we did paperwork, you know, so we didn't have to get out. It's a great idea. Yeah.

So we started doing that in 2015, mostly for ourselves.

And then in 2018, it started getting traction on YouTube. So we decided to develop a website, And then we developed a platform to house our videos that we have.

And currently today we have over 200 videos in that caregiver resource libraries, what we call it, at eCorner.com.

And we sell it for a subscription.

So what Cindy and I do, we're really just truly therapy nerds.

We make videos to show people, caregivers or senior partners, you know, senior spouses or even professional caregivers, how to provide safe care to a loved one or to a patient.

[34:29] And we sell that as a subscription. So that's kind of what we're doing.

In the meantime, while we were selling that, you know, we started doing that as a business model.

We got a lot of companies that would send us their product. and so we started putting we started taking these products and we found that especially in home health you you're just like man if this caregiver just had the right tool that would be so much easier you know so matching the product up with the caregiver you know people don't know what they don't know so they start sending these products so we started making these quick little videos to show people this is what this is this is the people that would benefit from it and here's how here's where you can find it maybe for you maybe it's not for you you know And so we've got all of that stuff out on our YouTube channel.

And then I always like to tease Cindy. We're all over social media.

We're on Instagram and Facebook.

[35:18] And I always tease Cindy, we're going to change the name of our TikTok account to Two Old Ladies on TikTok.

Yes. Because we get a lot of followers on TikTok too, which is great because we got different.

There are different kind of audiences that we serve on different platforms.

So we try to make sure we get them all. But yeah, so that's kind of what we do now.

And then we've got so now we've got all these products. And what we do, what we've been doing is packing them up in our van.

And we got a minivan, packing them up in the minivan and going to senior health fairs and.

[35:49] Um, to caregiver health fairs and setting up a booth.

We look like a, we look like a flea market because we've got so many products and stuff, but then just giving people the opportunity to engage with these products because you can get any of it online, but it doesn't, you know, how to use it safely.

So giving them the opportunity to engage with the product and then ask the therapist questions about their specific situation.

So I love it. So speaking Speaking about the video library, I've had the privilege of actually seeing your video library and there is there's so much gold there.

They're one of the biggest things that I truly, truly appreciated about the level of depth and time that you took to actually code things for people so that people know where to go actually look like what's, you know, when somebody is only needing a little bit of help or needing a little bit more help or needing a lot of help.

And that was extremely valuable.

[36:50] Excellent. And then the other thing that I really appreciate about what you guys are doing is the way that your educational videos are put together are so practical.

You know, it's not therapy talk.

Practical Tips for Caregivers and Value of Subscription Model

[37:06] You know, we can pull out the big fancy words, all three of us.

But you bring it down to a level for people to actually, it's practical.

Like practically how can you use this particular thing to help you with this particular problem so thank you for doing that for for the the people out there because there's just so much value in in it a lot of your videos are free because they're on youtube but a lot of the caregiver videos that will make somebody's life easier for them really is behind the the subscription model And I'd really encourage people, the price that you have things at is ridiculous.

I mean, it's less than the price of a takeout pizza.

Yeah. And if you consider what one month in a nursing home is, whether you're the family caregiver who gets hurt because they didn't know how to transfer somebody or a person living with dementia who gets hurt because the people don't know how to help them.

Right. A little investment to help you keep somebody at home, if that's your desire, I just think is well worth it.

Thank you. We try to keep the video short. We appreciate the time that caregivers or the lack of time that caregivers have.

We try to be respectful of that time by keeping the videos around five minutes, if possible.

[38:32] And we also, each subscription, when you subscribe, it's a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time. So maybe you're bringing mom home and you need to learn how to do transfers, you know, from the hospital. And maybe she had a knee replacement, you know.

[38:46] $10 a month for the bill. It's worth it. Yeah. And then when you're done with your caregiving journey, you can cancel your subscription.

So we just really want to help people.

We want to help caregivers and individuals live at home as long as possible.

Connecting with the Caregiver Support Team at AECorner.com

[39:02] That's right. For sure. It's what everybody wants anyway.

So how can people connect with you guys afterwards if they're interested in finding out more?

Yeah. If they want to go to our website at aecorner.com, we have a contact page.

You can call us. You could send us an email.

You could come find us on your favorite social media channel.

You can go look for the two old ladies on TikTok.

That's right. And you can find all of our social media handle channels at the bottom of our website.

Yep. At aecorner.com. And we can put all of that in the show notes too for people.

And I can tell you from personal experience, working with you guys has been a blessing. You are very gracious and very easy to communicate with and always willing to help.

That's been the biggest thing to me is I can see the, you know, the caring that you guys have for the people that you're serving and you're doing such a good job.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Thanks for having us. Oh, you're very welcome. We're going to do this again.

Excellent. Looking forward to it.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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