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Living with Alzheimer’s disease is a journey fraught with challenges, not just for the individual diagnosed but also for their caregivers and support network. In this case study, we delve into the story of Mary, a 55-year-old woman and show you how behaviour support for Alzheimer’s can improve her symptoms.

Despite her diagnosis, Mary faced additional hurdles stemming from sensory processing difficulties, leading to distressing behaviours during her daily care routines. Through a collaborative effort between a Behavior Specialist (BS) practitioner and an Occupational Therapist (OT), Mary’s journey toward improved quality of life is an inspiring example of effective intervention and support, aligning with the principles of the NDIS.

young lady helping old lady

Understanding Sensory Processing Difficulties in Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is commonly associated with memory loss, but its impact extends beyond cognition to affect various sensory functions. Sensory processing difficulties can arise, leading to difficulty interpreting and responding to sensory stimuli. For Mary, these difficulties manifested in behaviours such as self-injury and aggression, indicating her struggle with
processing sensory information.

Identifying the Problem

Mary’s caregivers noticed concerning behaviours during her care routines, including scratching her face and displaying aggression when approached by caregivers. Recognising the complexity of her symptoms, extensive observations and assessments were conducted to unravel the underlying cause. This thorough evaluation revealed that Mary’s distress stemmed
from sensory processing difficulties related to auditory stimuli.

Assessment and Collaboration

The collaborative efforts between the BS practitioner and OT were instrumental in understanding the intricacies of Mary’s condition. Combining their expertise, they conducted comprehensive assessments to pinpoint Mary’s sensory challenges. Through close collaboration and communication, they gained insights into Mary’s unique needs, laying the groundwork for tailored intervention strategies. The NDIS emphasises the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and person-centred approaches, ensuring that individuals like Mary receive holistic support that addresses their diverse needs and goals.

Implementing Supportive Strategies

Armed with a deeper understanding of Mary’s sensory sensitivities, the interdisciplinary team devised personalised strategies to support her during personal care routines. Environmental modifications, such as adjusting lighting and reducing auditory stimuli, were implemented to minimise sensory overload. Additionally, sensory integration activities tailored to Mary’s preferences and abilities were incorporated into her daily routine to promote relaxation and comfort.

Results and Progress

Implementing targeted strategies yielded promising results, leading to a notable decrease in Mary’s behaviours of concern. With reduced distress during personal care routines, Mary exhibited greater engagement and cooperation, fostering a more positive care experience for her and her caregivers. This tangible improvement underscores the effectiveness of addressing sensory processing difficulties in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Specialist Behaviour Support for Alzheimer’s and Its Role under the NDIS

Specialist Behaviour Support (SBS) is a critical service under the NDIS to enhance individuals’ quality of life and well-being with complex needs. This comprehensive support addresses behaviours of concern, promotes skill development, and fosters a positive and inclusive environment for NDIS participants. Achieve & Thrive, in collaboration with NDIS, offers SBS
services to individuals of all ages and backgrounds, providing tailored support to address challenging behaviours and improve overall functioning.

Our Approach at Achieve &Thrive

At Achieve & Thrive, our professionals focus on understanding and addressing behaviours of concern in individuals with disabilities. Our primary goal is to identify the underlying causes of behaviours of concern and develop personalised strategies to address them effectively. Our approach includes interim behaviour support plans, functional assessments, person-centred planning, positive behaviour support strategies, and a collaborative approach involving families, caregivers, and other professionals.

How NDIS Participants Benefit from Specialist Behaviour Support for Alzheimer’s

Behaviour support benefits participants by improving quality of life and independence by reducing behaviours of concern, enhancing social interactions with better communication techniques, developing functional skills to promote independence, supporting families with guidance and resources whilst aiming for long-term, sustainable behavioural improvements.

Under the NDIS, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease experiencing sensory processing difficulties may be eligible for support services to improve their sensory experiences and overall well-being.

Mary’s journey exemplifies the transformative impact of addressing sensory processing difficulties in Alzheimer’s disease through collaborative and personalised intervention in alignment with the principles of the NDIS. By recognising the unique challenges faced by individuals like Mary and implementing tailored strategies, we can significantly improve their quality of life and well-being. This case highlights the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, individualized care, and the critical role of SBS under the NDIS.

If you know someone who can benefit from behaviour support for Alzheimer’s, please reach out to us.