Sep 27, 2018 by Alan White
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, while heart disease-related deaths have decrease 14% since 2000, Alzheimer’s-related deaths have increased 89% over that same time span. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimation that someone develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds. And while many people picture Alzheimer’s as a disease that causes people to forget their train of thought mid-sentence or have trouble remembering a recent event, the effects of the disease progress far beyond these early symptoms. Eventually, people afflicted by Alzheimer’s can’t perform basic tasks like bathing, dressing, or even eating.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Once symptoms set in, treatments involve slowing the progression and severity of symptoms. However, a variety of treatment options are available as medication or in lifestyle adjustments.
The five FDA approved drugs available for medical treatment are Memantine, Donepezil, Revastigmine, Galantamine, and Memantine & Donepezil. The way these drugs work is by regulating the neurotransmitters in our brains, the chemicals that help facilitate the movement of information between neurons. In addition to these specific dementia-related drugs, doctors may recommend patients take antidepressants to manage symptoms. However, antidepressants should not be taken freely as they can have negative effects on the user’s health. It will be recommended that patients taking antidepressants be closely watched to ensure no deterioration of their health occurs.
In addition to medical treatments, caregivers and family members can take proactive measures in creating a comfortable environment for their loved ones. With your senior loved one’s environment, the primary focuses should be on lowering any chance for confusion in their homes—valuable objects such as keys, wallets, purses, and mobile phones should be placed consistently in one area of the home. Organizational tools like calendars, planners, and whiteboards also ensure comfort and reduce any confusion about appointments and events. And lastly, favorite photos should be kept around the home to keep your loved one grounded.
With regard to lifestyle, a regular exercise routine is a great way to keep the body healthy and keep spirits high. At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day should be a target for your senior loved one. A balanced, nutritious diet should be coupled with exercise for the same reasons but will be much more vital to the health of your loved one as time goes on. Forgetting about proper nutrition or drinking water is common with seniors in the latter stages of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Meals should also be at or around the same time every day.
The caregivers at Comfort Keepers of Canton are specially trained and understand the support needed for senior loved ones recently diagnoses with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Whether short term respite care or a long-term solution is needed, Comfort Keepers can help. Contact us for an in home consultation on how our private, customized solutions can work for your loved one.