For all who work with people with dementia

Guiding Occupational Therapy Practice for People Living with Dementia in the Community

This new free guide presents easy-to-use tables of evidence-based Occupational Therapy strategies that can be used to support people with dementia to live full, meaningful and manageable lives.

The guide is designed for Occupational Therapists of all levels of experience, including those working with clients in rural and remote areas, but the strategies are useful for all dementia care practitioners and carers.

Occupational Therapy strategies (including environmental strategies) are offered for each of the following areas:

  • Communication and social interaction
  • Mobilisation
  • Bathing/showering
  • Grooming and dressing
  • Using the toilet and continence
  • Eating and drinking
  • Sleep
  • Sexuality and intimacy
  • Responsibility for medications and maintaining health
  • Meal preparation and shopping
  • Using the phone
  • Managing finances
  • Doing laundry and housework
  • Using transport and driving
  • Pet care
  • Leisure

The guide is an updated and revised version of the widely used Dementia: Osborne Park Hospital Guide for Occupational Therapists in Clinical Practice resource, developed in 2011. It has been produced by Vera Riley, Senior Occupational Therapist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA and Anne Pressley, Senior Occupational Therapist, Osborne Park Hospital, WA thanks to a collaboration between the two hospitals and Dementia Training Australia

The content emphasises activity analysis and strategies addressing challenges within the steps of the task. The updated content has a focus on inclusivity and also reflects the considerable advances in technology and design principles which have occurred since the original publication.

Watch the video

Watch Vera Riley and Anne Pressley, Senior Occupational Therapists from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Osborne Park Hospital as they discuss using the new Guiding Occupational Therapy Practice for People living with Dementia in the Community resource.

An example of strategies from Guiding Occupational Therapy Practice for People Living with Dementia in the Community

Strategies related to eating and drinking

  • If appetite is low, presenting a large meal may be overwhelming
  • Colourful food will stimulate interest
  • Use food-scented oils such as cinnamon and orange to stimulate appetite
  • Try frequent small meals, 5-6 per day
  • Use popsicles, soups, smoothies to ensure adequate fluid intake
  • Limit distractions such as TV, noise, during mealtimes
  • Brightly coloured plates, cups and placemats with solid, bold colours are easier to see on a table and may increase food and liquid intake.