Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapy, Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia


Alzheimer's disease is a fatal, progressive and degenerative disease that destroys brain cells. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 64 per cent of all dementias in Canada. Symptoms include difficulty remembering things, making decisions and performing everyday activities. These changes can affect the way a person feels and acts. There is currently no way to cure the disease, but research is improving the way we provide care. Currently there are 500,000 Canadian living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, 72% are women.

Occupational therapists help clients and families understand the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the person’s day-to-day function.  The occupational therapist works with clients to develop ways to compensate for limitations and maintain independence.

Talk to an occupational therapist to help:

  • Facilitate opportunities for independence and personal control,
  • Develop a schedule for regular daily activities,
  • Adapt and modify homes,
  • Assist family members and caregivers.






These online resources are free and we encourage you to share them with as many people as possible: clients, families, referrers, physicians, colleagues, insurers, politicians and administrators. They are yours to use as you see fit and to help you advocate for your own practice and for the profession of occupational therapy.

Don’t forget to share your advocacy initiatives with us at



Professional Issue Forum: CAOT Professional Issue Forum on Addressing the “Rising Tide of Dementia in Canada”: Occupational therapists supporting people living with dementia

Lunch and Learn Archive:

Mini-series: Evaluation of Medical Fitness to Drive: Developing Competence in Canadian Occupational Therapy Practice Presenters: Briana Zur, Brenda Vrkljan, Isabelle Gelinas, Sherrilene Classen, Debra Froese, Cherie Henderson and Lisa Kristolovich

Driving is a valued occupation for many Canadians at any age. Driving allows people to get to where they need and want to go to participate in the daily occupation of life. Do you work with any clients dealing with driving issues? Have clients asked you for help with their driving? Have you ever had concerns about a client’s medical fitness to drive?

Occupational Therapy & Dementia Care: Building Capacity, Building Support

Presenter: Sylvia Davidson Session presented on: January 8, 2013

Using client examples, this presentation will provide an overview of some of the challenges occupational therapists face, while highlighting strategies that enable these clients and their caregivers to retain more independence, with a focus on aging at home.

Assessing Cognition in Seniors: Making Sense of the Numbers Beyond Cut off Scores
Presenter: Debby McQuillen Session presented on: January 15, 2013

This webinar will review the ethics and rational for occupational therapists performing cognitive assessments. Specific cognitive assessments developed to assess dementia, including their strengths andweaknesses will be discussed

Screening the at-risk Driver: Tools for the Occupational Therapist
Presenter: Dana Benoit Session presented on: January 29, 2013

Functional deficits may affect a person's ability to drive safely. Although some occupational therapists are specialized in the evaluation of driving safety, all occupational therapists working with an adult clientele need to be able to determine if such an evaluation is appropriate for their client

OT Now Articles:

Volume 14, Issue 4 CAOT Professional Issue Forum: Addressing the “Rising Tide of Dementia in Canada” Sylvia Davidson

Volume 12, Issue 5 Engaging community partners to address at risk drivers with dementia Briana Zur

Volume 12, Issue 5 Dementia and driving: From diagnosis to driving cessation and beyond Lisa Kristalovich

Our Networks: Occupational Therapists Working in Dementia Care

The networks is looking to build capacity and support the work of occupational therapists in providing care for persons with dementia

CAOT Publications

Living with Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias Edited by Sylvia Davidson

Living with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias provides answers to complex questions as caregivers struggle to understand behaviour and provide the best care possible to those with this illness. As the number of persons being diagnosed with dementia continues to rise, there is a growing need for skilled assessment, careful planning and linking with supports. Click here for more details.

Quick Tips -

Older Driver Safety- How might Alzheimer’s disease affect safe driving?

Keep an eye out for next month OT Month theme which is Occupational Therapy and Older Adults.