What Is ABA Therapy In Dementia Care?

ABA Therapy in Dementia Care

Primary goal of ABA therapy is to help individuals with dementia remain as independent as possible. We aim to increase the quality of life of our patients as well as their caregivers. We strive to decrease challenging behaviors while maintaining or teaching alternative, cognitively-appropriate skills for everyday functioning. In ABA therapy, we help everyone adapt to their set of circumstances and focus on goals that are meaningful to the individual, family, or other caregivers.

home, community, day centerABA therapy is a comprehensive program of services.

ABA therapists first assess the physical and social environment where the challenging behaviors occur. Therapists observe patients during daily routines and measure challenging behaviors as well as caregiver interactions. Based on the findings during assessment, a behavior plan is then developed. Behavior plans address the needs of the individual, as well as reflect family goals. Caregivers are then trained in the behavior plan, including how to physically rearrange rooms, how to alter daily schedules, and how to utilize visual cues to better reflect the needs of the individual with dementia. ABA therapy can be intensive and may require caregivers to change their interactions and routines.

ABA therapy can be conducted in all settings, including in the home, at day programs, in assisted living facilities, and in nursing homes.


Brief History of ABA Therapy:

ABA therapy started with children with intellectual disabilities in the early 1960s. Since then, a wide variety of techniques have been developed to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease inappropriate behaviors in several clinical populations.

  • Populations include: infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, older adults, sports players, psychiatric diagnoses
  • Diagnoses include: traumatic brain injury, aphasia, feeding disorders, attention deficit disorders, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia
  • Settings include: home, school, vocational programs, residential facilities, sports fields and gyms, workshops, assisted living facilities, nursing homes
Click on an image below to see how ABA is applied to other clinical behaviors.

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*Photo credit: ulrichkarljoho | Flickr