New folder name

Add to folder

There is no folder

Don't let cognitive decline stop your clients from setting goals

Self-reported cognitive decline does not stop people with Parkinson’s disease from creating meaningful, functional therapy goals. 

April 1, 2022

Kang et al. found that people with Parkinson’s disease and self-reported cognitive decline could still be active participants in setting goals. This article focused on occupational therapy goal setting, but we can use this approach when creating cognitive-communication goals too. Here’s the technique (and we made you a printable form to use with clients, too!):


1. Discuss the overall purpose of therapy and give the client an idea of what to expect.

  • "I'm here to help you with your everyday communication and cognition—things like talking to your grandkids, remembering to take your meds on time, setting up a schedule for feeding the cat..."

2. Encourage the client to reflect on the cognitive and/or communication changes they notice. What activities of daily living have been impacted?

  • “I thought I heard you say earlier that remembering to feed your cat Cougar was an issue.”
  • “I know you have a lot of medications to manage.”

3. Based on this conversation, what are some potential goal areas?

  • “I think we can categorize your goals into connecting with family, managing your health, and household responsibilities. Does that seem about right?”

4. Guide the client to create three functional goals.

  1. I will remember to feed Cougar and remember that I’ve done it.
  2. I will organize my pills every week into a pill organizer.
  3. I will figure out how to Zoom to video chat with my granddaughter.

5. Have the client rate each goal from 1-10 (1 being “not at all important” to 10 being “extremely important”) to help prioritize what to target first.

  • “Ok, it seems like your pet and your medicine are top priorities. Let’s figure that out first and then figure out the video chat.”
cognitive decline and client goal setting. The Informed SLP
Molly Alampi, MA, CCC-SLP


Authors suggest that a patient-centered approach to goal setting will optimize therapy engagement. And it will probably make therapy more interesting for you, too. Here were some other functional goals participants came up with: 

  • maintain attention during phone conversations
  • plan and prepare a new recipe twice per month
  • initiate quality communication with family friends or community members three times a week for two weeks
  • complete rote household tasks with a schedule

Just remember, cognitive decline does not prevent the ability to set person-centered goals given the right support, these meaningful goals make for meaningful treatment.


Members can read more about treating cognitive-communication here and here.


Kang, E., Jethani, P., & Foster, E. (2022). Person-centered goal setting is feasible in people with Parkinson’s disease who have subjective cognitive decline. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

This review is free to share!

You aren't currently signed up for CE credit. Want to learn more? Read here. Want to add CE credit to your account? Upgrade here

Grace Neubauer Fay, MS, CCC-SLP

Grace Neubauer Fay, MS, CCC-SLP

Grace Neubauer Fay is a writer for The Informed SLP. She currently lives in Cranford, NJ and works at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. She specializes in communication and swallowing disorders in the acute care setting. Her interests include dementia and the SLP's role in palliative care.
Learn more

Retrieved from on 08/12/2022. The unauthorized copying, sharing or distribution of this copyrighted material is strictly prohibited.

Why do you need my billing address?

Our records indicate your billing address is not on file, and we need this for tax purposes. We will not use your address for anything other than tax record keeping. Please email if you have any questions.