Cognitive Therapy for Dementia

Cognitive Therapy for Dementia

Image of Occupational Therapist and founder David Norris

If you or a loved one is living with dementia in Brisbane, you know how challenging it can be. The sense of uncertainty, the daily struggles of managing cognitive impairment, and the life frustrations that both the person with dementia and their caregivers experience  can take a toll on your quality of life. However, there are programs that may be able to help. Cognitive Therapy for Dementia is an effective intervention that has been proven to improve memory and thinking skills, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance the well-being of patients and caregivers.

In this blog post, we will delve into the details of Cognitive Therapy for Dementia and provide you with valuable insights that can help you make an informed decision.

In this article you'll learn:
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Whether you are a patient with dementia or caregiver, this is an opportunity that you do not want to miss. So, keep reading to learn more about this life-changing therapy for dementia

    A magnifying glass with the words What is Dementia?

    What is Dementia: Living with Dementia In Brisbane

    Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that affects millions of people around the world, and it is estimated that around 6% of older people worldwide are diagnosed with dementia.

    In Brisbane, this number is likely to be similar, and with an aging population, dementia is expected to rise in the next few decades.

    For people living with dementia today and their families, the cost is real. Be it

    • the financial burden, the reduction in quality of life, carer stress or the impact on a person’s day to day skills with noticeable physical activity changes.

    So, any actions that can reduce these costs are likely worth investing in. That said, not all symptoms of dementia are the same and how it presents in one person’s life will be different to the next.

    A person doing a puzzle that is a persons head/brain.

    Types of Dementia and Symptoms

    Dementia is characterized by the onset of cognitive deficits that progress over time, leading to impairments in daily living. A person will be diagnosed with a form of dementia based on their specialist consultation who may also rely on occupational therapy assessments as well.

    There are different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, and Frontotemporal Dementia, each with its own unique symptoms.

    Some common symptoms of dementia include:

    • changes in cognition, such as memory loss, difficulty with language, and confusion to place and time,
    • changes in behaviour, such as agitation and aggression, and
    • changes in function, such as difficulty with daily activities.

    A man looking at an ipad with an OT

    What is Cognitive Therapy For Dementia?

    Cognitive Therapy is an approach that aims to improve the cognitive functioning of people living with dementia. A detailed occupational therapy dementia assessment and treatment plan will often include this as a therapy pillar.

    There are different types of cognitive therapy, including:

    • cognitive training, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive stimulation, and occupational therapy.

    Each type of therapy has its own unique benefits and is tailored to the individual needs of the person living with dementia. So, let’s explore these in more detail. 

    Cognitive Training

    Cognitive training is a type of therapy that focuses on improving specific cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. It involves using specific exercises and techniques to optimize functioning and improve daily life.

    Cognitive Rehabilitation

    Cognitive rehabilitation is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people with all forms of dementia to maintain their independence and improve their daily living skills. It involves working with a therapist to set goals and develop strategies to overcome cognitive deficits and improve function.

    Cognitive Stimulation

    Cognitive stimulation is a type of therapy that involves engaging people with dementia in activities that are designed to stimulate their cognitive abilities. It can include activities such as music therapy, art therapy, and reminiscence therapy, and has been found to improve memory and thinking skills.

    Occupational Therapy For Dementia

    Occupational therapy for dementia is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people with dementia to engage in meaningful activities and maintain their independence. It involves working with a therapist to identify activities that the person enjoys and is able to do, and then developing strategies to overcome cognitive deficits and improve function.

    We’ve covered this in detail in other posts, where you can learn about

    A person receiving therapy and the words Clinical Trials and research

    Clinical Trials and Research on Cognitive Therapy for Dementia

    An early review of multiple studies (Woods et al, 2012) identified the benefits of Cognitive Stimulation stating:

    Studies have found that cognitive stimulation programs can be beneficial for people with mild to moderate dementia, beyond the effects of medication. However, their sizes were small and there were inconsistencies in their methodological quality, including limited randomization procedures.

    In short, at that time, more was needed. Since then greater evidence has supported this with the NICE 2018 guidelines also supporting this treatment approach offering an endorsement to this method- that Cognitive Stimulation is to be available to all people at early and moderate stages of dementia.

    In 2022, Saragih and colleagues, completed a meta analysis of randomised controlled trial trials of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for people with dementia and reported:

    “Cognitive stimulation therapy effectively improves cognitive function and alleviates depression levels among people with mild-to-moderate dementia.”

    Synapses responding to each other. Building memories

    Benefits of Cognitive Therapy For People Living With Dementia

    Cognitive therapy has been found to be effective in improving the memory and thinking skills of people with mild dementia to moderate dementia, and it can delay hospitalization, reduce healthcare costs, and improve the well-being of both patients and caregivers.

    People with dementia who took part in therapy programs have reported improved quality of life. It is a cost-effective intervention that offers value for money.

    An image of David Norris OT with his logo

    Occupational Therapy Brisbane’s Cognitive Therapy Programs

    If you or a loved one is dealing with dementia, it may be worth exploring the option of cognitive therapy as a potential therapy to improve cognitive functioning and quality of life.

    Occupational Therapy Brisbane offers a range of cognitive therapy programs tailored to individual needs, including cognitive training, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive stimulation, and occupational therapy.

    Contact us today on 1300 783 200 to learn more about our programs and how we can help improve the lives of those affected by dementia in Brisbane.


    Maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy for dementia: single-blind, multicentre, pragmatic randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;204(6):454-61.

    Anchor Text: Maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy for dementia: single-blind, multicentre, pragmatic randomised controlled trial

    External Link:

    Woods B, Aguirre E, Spector AE, Orrell M (February 2012). Woods B (ed.). “Cognitive stimulation to improve cognitive functioning in people with dementia”.The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.2(2): CD005562.doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005562.pub2.PMID22336813.

    External Link:

    Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST): effects on different areas of cognitive function for people with dementia.International journal of geriatric psychiatry. 2010 Dec;25(12):1253-8.

    Anchor Text: Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST): effects on different areas of cognitive function for people with dementia.

    External Link:

    Leave a Comment

    Scroll to Top