Understanding Treatment Options For Those With Alzheimer

You should know that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor treating the patient will design the treatment plan. The treatment plan usually involves both medicated and non-medicated methods that improve both cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

The goal of treatment is to improve the day-to-day functioning of the individual with Alzheimer’s and also to give the best quality of life possible for as long as possible through a combination of treatment methods based on symptoms and the severity of the symptoms. Treatments address slowing down the progression of the cognitive symptoms and managing the behavioral symptoms.

Part of treatment involves educating the patient and the patient’s family, friends and caregivers about the disease because when those around the patient can understand why they behave the way they do it is easier to help them and to have compassion for them.

Medications are used to treat the cognitive and the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Non-medicated methods are also used to treat Alzheimer’s such as psychiatric therapy, relaxation exercises and physical therapy to help improve mobility. Research is constantly being conducted and clinical trials are being offered to help with new drugs.

Medications used for cognitive symptoms include memantine, galantamine, rivastigmine, donepezil and also tacrine.

Therapeutic activities may vary and are designed based on the symptoms the individual is experiencing. Activities may include music therapy, walking and other light exercise, relaxation techniques and pet therapy.

Treatment may also include exercise and diet recommendations to help maintain overall health and may include asking for a consultation with a nutritionist or registered dietician, a fitness instructor, an acupuncturist, or massage therapist.

Part of treating a person with Alzheimer’s disease is learning about how to communicate with them as the disease progress. Because the individual will lose ability to communicate it becomes even more important for all those caring for the individual to make every effort to communicate with the individual by trying to eliminate any potential communication problem in advance, use memory clues such as photographs and by leaving notes to remind the individual about routines or tasks that need to be accomplished like taking medication on time. Make use of various communication techniques to help improve the communication between patient, family and caregiver by using reality therapy, validation therapy, redirection, and memory cueing where appropriate.

When designing a treatment plan keep in mind that Alzheimer’s patients do well when there is structure in their lives and consistency in routine. Make sure there is a combination of both active and passive activities in the individual’s daily life.

Treatment options will change as the individual’s disease progresses. The plan will then need to be updated to include current needs and to address the symptoms that are currently being experienced. As the disease progresses the treatment will become more restrictive and involve more care.

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