Raising Awareness for Better Postural Care in Alzheimer’s Disease: World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2023
In honour of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2023, at CareFlex, we are stepping forward to shine a spotlight on an essential aspect of Alzheimer’s care – the significance of postural care in sitting. As a leading provider of specialist seating, we understand the crucial role that optimum postural care plays in the health and well-being of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, with more than 520,000 people in the UK impacted, accounting for around 62% of dementia cases1. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells2. It is a physical disease that manifests as an irreversible brain disorder caused by degeneration of brain tissue and nerve cells3.
How Can Alzheimer’s Disease Affect Posture?
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive; sadly, this means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms develop, and they also worsen. It often comes with physical challenges, including difficulties with coordinated movement patterns and maintaining a comfortable upright position when sitting. This issue is further exacerbated by the progression of the disease, leading to a decline in functional independence. Individuals can present with reduced muscle mass due to inactivity with an increased risk of secondary complications such as body shape distortion, falls, and pressure injuries due to prolonged and/or destructive sitting postures4.
On assessment, the individual may present with the following postural challenges:
- General weakness
- Poor sitting balance
- Posterior pelvic tilt
- Increased thoracic kyphosis
- Change in postural awareness
How Can Postural Care Help?
Optimum postural care can make a significant difference. It can alleviate discomfort, enhance functional independence, and aid in the prevention of health complications. At CareFlex, we believe that raising awareness and education about the importance of postural care can lead to a better quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Our commitment to this cause is best demonstrated by the case of Mrs Davies, an outgoing 75-year-old lady living with Alzheimer’s disease. Mrs Davies was experiencing increasing discomfort when seated, often leading to uncharacteristic agitation and distress. She also requested bed rest consistently throughout the day, resulting in deconditioning and social isolation. Her care team approached us, and we introduced her to our HydroTilt chair:
- The HydroTilt, with its robust yet comfortable design, provided Mrs Davies with optimum postural support, reducing her discomfort and subsequently improving her well-being.
- Tilt-in-Space was deemed safe, appropriate, and effective in promoting periods of rest and recuperation without needing to be confined to her bedroom.
- An integrated pressure redistributing system also reduced Mrs Davies’ risk of developing pressure injuries.
The change in Mrs Davies was transformative. She was more comfortable, significantly improving her mood and overall quality of life. Her care team reported that they found engaging her in daily activities easier, enhancing her cognitive stimulation. Mrs. Davies’ case underscores the immense difference that appropriate postural care in sitting can make in the lives of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s about more than just comfort; it’s about dignity, participation, and improving quality of life.
As we observe World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, let’s remember the importance of comprehensive care that includes good postural care. Let’s continue educating, raising awareness, and striving better to understand Alzheimer’s and its holistic care needs.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require more support or advice about meeting the seating needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Alzheimer’s Society (2018) Alzheimer’s Society’s view on demographyAvailable from: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/policy-and-influencing/what-we-think/demography
- NHS (2018) Alzheimer’s disease available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/
- Alzheimer’s Society (2019) Alzheimer’s disease available from: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia/alzheimers-disease
- Alzheimer’s Association (2021) Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Available from: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures
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