What is Habilitation Therapy?
March 27, 2017

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses all sorts of challenges. Changes to the brain can result in a decline in cognitive ability, making communication difficult and behaviors tough to manage. Caregivers can find ways to adapt to these changes through the use of Habilitation Therapy. According to, Habilitation Therapy is a non-medical, interpersonal approach to care partnering. Emphasis is placed on the remaining strengths of the person with dementia and the abilities that have not yet been lost to the disease. Recognizing and centering on the person’s strengths allows for continued engagement, which can help to reduce agitation, communicate more effectively, maintain safety and handle resistant and challenging behaviors.

Habilitation Therapy sessions can be set up through a referral from your local caregiver advisor. Sessions with a certified Habilitation Therapy Coach can take place with an individual caregiver or may also be open to include other involved family members. It is not necessary for the care receiver to be present during these sessions and in most situations, it is more beneficial to keep visits between the coach and the caregivers so that concerns can be freely discussed. The coach will educate caregivers to help them better understand their loved one’s diagnosis and together, they will create a specialized plan to address their concerns. Each plan is personalized to the needs of the individual and their families leading to improved relationships and better-quality care.

For more information on Habilitation Therapy or to request a session with a certified Habilitation Therapy coach, Contact The Family Caregiver Support Program at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley at 978-683-7747.

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