Understanding Memory/Cognitive Impairment As Part of the Aging Process: The Role of Rehab Therapy

cognitive-functionAging clients who have cognitive/memory impairment present a challenge to therapists who are often at a loss as to how to provide “appropriate” intervention.  Clinicians often only associate age related cognitive/memory deficits with Alzheimer’s.  Therapy involves not only dealing with the client but also with their family, who often is struggling to understand the cognitive/behavioral changes they are seeing in their loved one.  There is a large spectrum of age related cognitive/memory deficits that can dramatically impact safety/mobility/ADL’s and IADL’s and these may often go unrecognized or not be addressed clinically. 

This evidence based course is designed to assist the clinician in developing a better understanding of cognitive/memory impairments associated with the aging process.  In addition, clinicians will learn how to prioritize treatment sessions to focus on functional deficits caused by the cognitive/behavioral changes. 

You will learn about the aging process related to normal versus abnormal cognitive/memory deficits, and the factors that both contribute to and prevent cognitive/memory decline.  Developing an understanding of what is considered “normal memory loss” and the difference between cognitive/memory impairment versus Alzheimer’s is crucial to being to provide effective therapy intervention.  Content will cover the spectrum of age related cognitive/memory decline from normal memory loss to Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to end stage Alzheimer’s and the behavioral characteristics of each.  Therapy intervention strategies will also be discussed. 

Emphasis will be on MCI through moderate Alzheimer’s and the role of executive functions related to impairment.  The most up to date information on brain plasticity, cognitive reserve and intervention strategies will be presented and the course includes extensive resource information.  Teaching strategies will include active class participation/engagement and group breakout activities.  The course is designed to provide clinicians with assessment/intervention strategies that can immediately be implemented and is applicable to the following clinical settings:  Acute; IPR; SNF and outpatient.

During lab sessions, course instructor(s) will evaluate each participant’s skills learned to determine proficiency for course completion.

Course Objectives:

At the completion of this seminar, the attendee should be able to:

  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of 3 commonly used cognitive assessments for patients with memory/cognitive impairments
  • List four resources related to memory/cognitive impairment that can be used for patient/caregiver education
  • Categorize the six Allen Cognitive Levels and the role of therapy intervention with each level
  • Name six conditions/co-morbidities that impact cognitive/memory function
  • Given a case scenario, identify 3 characteristics of Mild/Moderate Cognitive Impairment for a patient with dementia
  • Given a case scenario, identify 3 rehab therapy interventions for a patient with Alzheimer’s.
  • Contrast 5 normal vs abnormal cognitive/memory deficits throughout the aging process.
  • Distinguish 3 reversible causes of changes in cognition and memory
  • Justify, based on evidence, how frontal lobe/executive functions relate to cognitive/memory ability
  • Select a quick screening method for cognitive/memory impairment for a patient with minimal cognitive impairment
  • Given the result of a case study, justify the appropriate evaluation tool related to cognitive/memory deficits associated with driving ability and driving skills assessment for a patient with mild cognitive impairment.

CE Credits

8 contact hours

This course is accepted by many professional credentialing organizations and state professional regulatory boards. Rules and regulations change frequently without notification, and apply differently to live and online courses. Please check with your state board to confirm accuracy of this list and acceptance of contact hours. Certificate of Attendance will be issued to all participants upon completion of the course and may be used for CEU verification of credits. CE credits vary by state. Please check with your state board/certifying agency to confirm conversion of contact hours to CE. See links below.


Physical Therapy Board of California: The Physical Therapy Board of California recognizes Rehab Education, LLC as an approval agency to approve providers offering continuing competency courses for CA licensed PTs and PTAs. This course is approved for 8 contact hours.

California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board: The Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board of California recognizes Rehab Education, LLC as an approved Continuing Professional Development Provider (PDP). Approval #PDP 416. (Course must be taken between 03-6-2019 and 03-31-2021)

Illinois State Board of Physical Therapy: Approved CE Sponsor by Illinois State Board of Physical Therapy, Division of Professional Regulations, Approval #216.000227. (Course must be taken prior to 09-30-2020)

NY State Physical Therapy Board: Rehab Education, LLC is recognized as an approved provider of PT and PTA continuing education by the NY State Education Department Board of Physical Therapy. (Course must be taken prior to 05-10-2022)

PA State Board of Physical Therapy: Per PA rules and regulations, Pennsylvania Board of Physical Therapy now recognizes as approved any course certified by FSBPT’s ProCert or approved by another state PT Board, or approved by the APTA and its components which includes the state chapters, regional chapters, and sections.

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Approved Provider #6177: See states that currently recognize AOTA Approved Providers for OT

Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT): Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) / ProCert has awarded certification in the amount of 7 Continuing Competence Units (CCUs) to this activity. Approved CCUs are a unit of relative value of an activity based on its evaluation against a rigorous and comprehensive set of standards representing the quality of an activity. The CCU determination is a valuation applying many factors including, but not limited to, duration of the activity. No conclusion should be drawn that CCUs correlate to course hours. (Course must be taken between 09-13-2017 and 09-12-2019) Click Here to view the state physical therapy boards that currently accept the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) certification.

  • AOTA Approval States

    These states currently recognize AOTA Approved Providers for OT continuing education either in regulatory language or by formal written communication to AOTA:

    District of Columbia
    New Hampshire
    New York
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina

    *Disclaimer: Rehab Education LLC provides this list for your convenience. At the time of listing, the following state boards accept courses by virtue of approval by other organizations. It is the responsibility of the participant registering for a course to check with their state board to confirm rules and regulations regarding acceptance of contact hours for live and online courses.

    The following PT Boards accept courses approved by other state PT boards or APTA state associations*:

    North Carolina

    The following PT Boards accept courses approved by other APTA state associations*:

    Rhode Island

    The following PT Boards accept courses provided by AOTA approved providers*:

    District of Columbia
    Rhode Island

    *NBCOT…National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (view PDU requirements)

    +HTCC… Hand Therapy Certification Commission  (view recertification requirements)
    Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC): This course is accepted by HTCC towards re-certification.

    State PT Boards
    State OT Boards


7:30-8:00 Registration
8:00-8:20 Introduction/Objectives/Pretest
8:20-9:30 Alzheimer’s Facts/Figures/Risk  Factors/Intervention Hype
Exceptional memory
Dementia vs. Alzheimers
Women vs. Men
Contributing Factors
9:30-9:45 Break
9:45-10:30 Cognition/Executive Function (EF)
Components of cognition
Components of EF Effect of memory/cognition changes on EF
10:30-11:00 Cognition/Memory: Normal Aging vs. Abnormal Aging
Clinical examples
11:00-12:00 Mild Cognitive Impairment Defined
Functional Impairment Caused by Diagnosis
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:30 Alzheimer’s Disease/Cognitive Impairment Progression Vs. MCI
1:30-2:30 Cognitive Assessments/ Cognitive Reserve/Brain Plasticity/Group Activity
Testing issues
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-3:15 Falls/Driving/Dual Tasking
Driving assessments
Dual tasking treatment strategies
3:15-3:30 Group Activity
4:00-4:45 Treatment Strategies/ EBP Intervention
Clinical Studies
Cognitive stimulation
4:45-5:10 Resources
5:10-5:30 Review/Q & A/Post Test


Maxwell Perkins MS, OTR/L

Maxwell Perkins MS, OTR/L earned his BS in occupational therapy 1984 from the Medical College of Georgia.  He obtained an MS in Health Care Policy and Administration from Mercer University in 1994 and has worked in a variety of clinical settings (acute/inpatient and outpatient, SNF). 

Max has extensive experience with interdisciplinary clinical management focusing on a geriatric population.  He co-authored the article:  Interdisciplinary Team Approach in the Rehabilitation of Hip/Knee Arthroplasties which was published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 

His most recent clinical positions have been serving as the Rehab Education Director for two large health care organizations, where he completed extensive training on this subject.  In addition, Max has presented workshops at both the local, regional and state level.  Max currently is a consultant and also a guest lecturer in occupational therapy at Pacific University in Forrest Grove Oregon and in physical therapy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington.

Classes taught by Maxwell Perkins: