The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Dementia Patients

man with dementia

Dementia is a general umbrella term that refers to the loss of cognitive function due to abnormal brain activity. Common signs and symptoms include memory loss, problems with movement, personality changes, agitation, and poor judgment. Because of these reasons and more, it can be an overwhelming diagnosis that can significantly affect a person’s everyday life.

Dementia is common in older people, but it is not necessarily a normal part of aging. Dementia can be a result of brain cell damage and, in some cases, rare genetic mutations. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for nearly 80 percent of all cases.

Being diagnosed with dementia would mean not being able to communicate normally. The main question is, are there ways to make a patient’s life easier and more comfortable? While there is still no cure for dementia, physical therapy can significantly help deal with symptoms.

The Importance of Physical Therapy 

When it continually progresses, dementia can lead to severe complications. Patients are likely to experience fatigue and loss of balance. This is the reason why they are prone to falls, injuries, and fractures. Physical therapy can help mitigate these effects, as it can reduce the possibilities of functional decline and improve cognitive abilities.

In the early stages of dementia, physical therapy can help address symptoms through performing routine activities, participating in sports, and completing tasks to encourage regular movements. 

Contrary to popular belief, the goal of physical therapy isn’t solely focused on the physical aspect of care and treatment in patients. It also encourages improved communication, increased motivation, and awareness among family members. Therapists can also provide expert advice to families and caregivers. 

How Physical Therapy Addresses the Following Symptoms

Muscle Weakness

Physical therapists will structure a muscle-strengthening plan based on the result of the patient’s muscle weakness assessment. These programs often include low-impact exercises and the use of weight machines or stretch bands. Therapists may also add some gentle exercises to help build muscle strength and improve functional capacity.

Loss of Balance

People of all ages with balance issues can benefit from physical therapy. Therapists perform balance testing and create a plan of exercises that will help improve stability and coordination. 


Treatment plans for fatigue include manual therapy and strengthening exercises. Manual therapy tends to relax muscles and joints, while strengthening exercises are great for reducing tension and improving endurance.

Physical therapy is essential for every dementia patient. Whether a patient is experiencing mild to severe symptoms, regular physical activities will provide necessary benefits like improved brain function and memory.


Living with dementia can be very isolating. But with the right team, patients and their loved ones don’t need to go through it alone. Proper monitoring and medication are essential to ensure that a patient receives care and attention that they need. Families can hire home health services that will provide clinical care to family members diagnosed with dementia. 

Physical therapy, among other treatments, will improve the quality of life of a patient. A happier and healthier life is still possible. 

If you’re looking for the best home health service, work with our experts at Bridge Home Health. As the leading provider for senior health services in San Diego, we offer home health, hospice, and specialty programs for your loved ones overseen by trained clinicians and healthcare specialists. Call us today to request more information.