Current Geriatrics Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 59–70 | Cite as

Rehabilitation for Individuals with Dementia: Facilitating Success

  • Julie D. RiesEmail author
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation (O. Addison, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation


Purpose of Review

Individuals with dementia (IwD) have unique characteristics related to movement quality, motor learning strategies, and interpersonal needs. Without an understanding of these issues, physical therapists (PTs) treat these patients as they would cognitively intact older adults and become frustrated or disheartened when patients do not respond to therapy as expected. The purpose of this article is to facilitate the success of therapeutic interventions with IwD by suggesting therapeutic strategies that play to the strengths of this population.

Recent Findings

Classic and recent literature related to motor control and motor learning in IwD is reviewed, and relevant clinical applications are highlighted. Key components related to successful interventions in existing evidence are presented.


Armed with an understanding of the unique qualities related to movement disorders and motor learning, PTs will be better equipped to exploit the strengths of IwD for optimal rehab outcomes.


Dementia Rehabilitation Motor learning Movement disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Julie Ries declares no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marymount UniversityArlingtonUSA

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