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. Home > Alzheimer´s Disease Project > The Centre > Non-pharmacological therapies used

Non-pharmacological therapies used

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Besides the pharmacological treatments prescribed for residents, directly supervised by the geriatric specialist and the rest of the medical team, the Centre’s technical team applies various non-pharmacological therapies to our patients, in order to try and preserve their physical, cognitive and functional abilities as much as possible. It is essential to constantly stimulate the patient in every sphere. Besides, we must not forget the socializing role played by all these activities because, whether performed individually or in a group, they help improve the patients’ relationship, participation and connection with their environment.

Some of these activities are:


Re-education of walking and transference training:

We work on the users’ walk, balance and transferences (standing, sitting and moving on to bed). The aim is to achieve and maintain the residents’ self-reliance so they can be as functionally independent as possible.

As regards re-education in walking, we try to preserve the residents’ independent walking ability, whether on their own or assisted by the use of proper technical aids (stick, walking frame, handrails…). Whenever possible we also use ramps, stairs, different ground textures, different rhythms… focused on strengthening the patient’s self-reliance, balance and walk and in avoiding falls.


The underlying tissues of the treated areas can be modified by means of therapeutic manipulation. There are several massaging techniques, depending on the looked-for effect of relaxing, improving blood circulation, easing cramps….. The relationship with the patient also improves with the physical contact provided by these techniques.

Postural re-education:

With this technique we try to correct wrong postures which may cause stiffness and pressure sores and which could interfere with the functionality and body scheme of our patients.


Based on performing and applying movements, whether active, assisted, resisted or passive, aimed at improving or at least maintaining the patients’ mobility and muscular strength.


A method that uses mechanical devices to direct body movements with controlled strength, scope and broadness. There are several mechanotherapy machines in the Centre’s main garden: pedal pushers, pulleys, shoulder wheels, etc.


We apply heat on the body with therapeutic purposes using heat pads or radiation at high temperatures, above physiological levels. We seek to stimulate peripheral circulation by inducing an analgesic or relaxing effect. We mostly use infra-red lamps. Cryotherapy is the opposite technique, that is, we administer cold to avoid swelling and to calm. We generally use it to treat problems in our patients’ joints.

Breathing therapy:

This technique seeks to prevent, treat and stabilize breathing disorders in our patients, by means of re-education of the breath-in and breath-out mechanisms and of abdominal / diaphragmatic breathing; re-educating or teaching the patient to cough and expectorate…


Cognitive Stimulation:

It aims to strengthen our patients’ cognitive functions as a whole, in order to preserve their mental abilities. Besides, we boost their functional abilities and their performance of daily tasks. This therapy also improves social relations and the patients’ feelings of emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Psychomotor skills:

We work on the body scheme (laterality, recognition of different body parts, balance and coordination), the spatial scheme (the body’s position in relation to the surrounding environment, working on concepts like up / down, near /far …..) and the temporal scheme (focusing on concepts such as rhythm, length or frequency of time…….) Using movement we are able to work on the three schemes, also achieving cognitive stimulation of the patients.

Music therapy:

With these sessions we try to improve the residents’ communication abilities, to enable them to express themselves, to socialize. We use music as a working tool to boost their mood (to decrease their apathy) and to treat behavioral and emotional disorders (irritability, psychomotor agitation, aggressiveness…). This therapy is also used to work on cognitive processes like focalized attention, memory, orientation or language.

BADL training:

Our occupational therapists are constantly searching, both directly or with guidance, for ways to preserve the patients’ basic activities of daily life (BADL), that is: eating, bathing, dressing and walking. The therapists use direct as well as indirect training, as they give guidelines to the nursing staff to keep on training the patients during the day. As far as the patient’s condition allows it, we also apply more advanced or instrumental therapies.

Leisure therapies:

We also use more informal therapies, focused on achieving the patients’ socialization and the enjoyment of their leisure time. For instance we play traditional games, we employ art and play therapies and, of course, we take advantage of our garden’s resources, using flower and vegetable gardening therapies.


Reality orientation techniques:

They work on cognitive processes such as watchfulness, focalized attention, fixative memory, episodic memory (knowledge of traditional feasts) and orientation in the three spheres (spatial, temporal and personal). It is based on the idea of repeating basic information; for instance: calling them by their names, reminding them of which day or what season it is, which city or place we are in, etc. With these techniques we try to reduce the disorientation that these patients suffer and to create a learning process in so far as possible. It can be presented verbally, in writing, by gestures or visually, in order to strengthen the patient’s basic information. To this purpose we use tools such as photographs, drawings, calendars, etc.

Sensorineural stimulation:

This therapy is applied to basic cognitive processes such as attention, perception and gnosias. Patients are presented with basic sensorial stimuli, tactile for instance such as different textures or fabrics, smells, tastes, etc, which they can easily interpret.


With this therapy we try to stimulate the episodic or autobiographical memory of the patients. We also work on other functions such as attention, orientation, language or memory. We aim to preserve the patients’ identity by reactivating their memories, by rousing their remembrance of past situations (events of their childhood or youth). To this end we use materials such as music, photographs and objects which the patients are familiar with.

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. 08.02.2024

Su Majestad la Reina Doña Sofía visita las instalaciones de la Asociación Banco de Alimentos de Huelva

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