When people have Alzheimer's disease their world becomes strangely unfamiliar to them. Things previously found easy and routine become hard work. They have to think longer about even simple tasks like getting dressed. The passage of time becomes less reliable. Life takes on a much slower pace in the face multiple losses. Social and work connections, the ability to think, problem solve, be creative, formulate judgements, and subsequently self-esteem are adversely affected. This means people with Alzheimer's have to find new coping and treatment strategies.
- One of the most important things that can help someone with Alzheimer's is to reduce their stress. You can reduce demands by such things as accepting help from family, using state and voluntary organisations such as social services for information and facilities and through the voluntary sector such as the Alzheimer's Association.
- Use memory aids such as reminder boards, electronic gadgets and other aids such as a medicine dispensers.
- Develop new routines. These enable people with memory difficulties, central to a diagnosis of dementia. Establishing a routine also helps reduce anxiety and helps people with Alzheimer's to cope with the loss of skills as it reduces the need for reliance on memory.
- Consult your family doctor or specialist in Alzheimer's disease who may prescribe medications to delay the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Four drugs have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) These drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors, donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), galantamine (Razadyne formerly known as Reminyl) are often prescribed to improve or delay the deterioration in cognitive functioning (the ability to think, problem-solve, interact with their environment). Findings on their effectiveness do vary but overall research does indicate that the drugs do produce small improvements in overall cognitive functioning as well as improvements in the activities of daily living and in behavior in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Memantine (Namenda) is used in moderate to severe Alzheimer's with some improvement. There is however no cure for Alzheimer's at the present time.
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