Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Younger Onset Dementia, lead to a loss of brain cells and their connections in areas of the brain important for memory and thinking. To date, there is no evidence that any treatment can prevent or reverse dementia. However, there is evidence that Cognitive Therapies, delivered by an experienced professional, can assist in improving thinking and memory or slow further deterioration.
Cognitive stimulation therapy and Cognitive Training, including computerised cognitive training, are associated with modest benefits for cognition in people with mild to moderate dementia and these benefits often extend to mood, quality of life, goal satisfaction and overall wellbeing (1). There may be added benefits from combining cognitive exercises with physical exercise.
At Adapt Lifestyle Support we use the RehaCom Computerised Cognitive Training Program. Our licensed Rehacom trained Therapist provides this therapy to NDIS participants living with Acquired Brain Injury and Younger Onset Dementia as a Capacity Building Support in their NDIS Plan.
What is Cognitive Stimulation Therapy?
Cognitive stimulation involves activities or exercises designed to be mentally-engaging and challenge thinking abilities. There are additional benefits when this therapy is provided in a group setting. At Adapt Lifestyle Support, our Social Worker Therapist and therapy assistants offer Cognitive Stimulation in 1-1 sessions as well as in small groups. Activities and exercises can be provided while participating in the local community, or at our Lifestyle Centre. Our groups are offered to people with younger onset dementia with similar cognitive abilities and interests.
Our Montessori Therapy program provides cognitive stimulation therapy for people living with more advanced dementia. It is designed to engage and stimulate people by creating a prepared environment, filled with cues and memory supports. The participants are “set up for success” with activities, and experience purpose and satisfaction, including opportunities to care for and help others. Participants leave each session with a sense of achievement and feeling good they have been able to help someone else.
What is Cognitive Training Therapy?
Cognitive Training is more structured than cognitive stimulation. The practical tasks target specific cognitive functions, such as memory, attention and concentration, or problem‐solving. We provide cognitive screening to ensure the training we give you will target the specific brain function areas you need support with. The screening we do will also ensure the training sessions will be set at a level that will be achievable, challenging and fun – to get the best results.
The sessions can be delivered in your home or at our Lifestyle Centre and costs are fully covered from the Capacity Building funds in your NDIS plan. We also provide weekly sessions that we combine with physical activity from a neurological physiotherapist for maximum benefit. Theses sessions are delivered at the McKenzie Clinic Gym in Maroochyodore.
Bahar-Fuchs A, Mowszowski L, Lautenschlager NT, and Cox K. Cognitively oriented treatments in dementia, chapter 2 in Low LF and Laver K (eds), 2021, op cit