Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are brain disorders that slowly destroy a person’s ability to think and remember. As dementia progresses, you lose the ability to carry on a conversation and manage day-to-day tasks.
Many people with dementia can live at home for years with proper care. However, there may be a need to consider residential care. When considering residential care, your loved one’s needs should be a top priority. It helps to find a community with the resources and staff to meet those needs.
Dementia symptoms usually worsen over time but may start slowly and deteriorate quickly. Memory loss is a common symptom and causes reasoning and behavior or language skills problems.
Damage to the brain’s blood vessels due to high blood pressure or diabetes stops enough oxygen from getting to your brain cells. Symptoms of dementia include trouble speaking or understanding what people say, difficulty walking, dizziness, or vertigo. In addition, the symptoms make you feel like you or everything around you is spinning, confusion, poor judgment, or depression.
Some medications can help control or slow down memory loss and other symptoms associated with dementia. Therefore, drugs often make part of a treatment plan for dementia, as they can help improve memory and reduce confusion.
Medications include cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne) and memantine (Namenda). Other drugs can substitute these medications if they don’t work well enough or cause side effects. However, medications may temporarily mask its symptoms while making it difficult to diagnose dementia.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) warns doctors to use caution when prescribing these medications. Side effects may include urinary retention, constipation, weight gain, sleepiness, and dizziness.
Physical therapists can help people with milder dementia exercise regularly, improving their strength, balance, and coordination. They’ll also work with loved ones on ways to help them learn new skills and cope better with everyday tasks.
A therapist specializing in helping people adjust to changes caused by disease or injury will teach caregivers how to make simple changes at home that will make life easier for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
Therapists help people develop compensatory strategies to continue performing tasks independently, such as dressing themselves or preparing meals. Occupational therapists also teach caregivers these strategies to continue caring for their patients.
Supportive therapy can help people adapt to living with dementia by teaching them how to manage their behavior. For example, if someone is becoming agitated or frustrated because they can’t remember something, therapy might teach them techniques to calm down when they feel upset.
It may also teach them coping strategies to know what else they can do when feeling anxious or distressed.
Often, counseling help people adjust to the diagnosis of dementia and learn how best to support them in their day-to-day life. Counseling may also be beneficial if you need advice on communicating with someone with dementia and how best to care for them at home.
If your loved one loses the ability to make decisions, hospice care can help your family plan by providing support and information about advance directives and living wills. Hospice care also provides pain management services and spiritual support while your loved one can still participate in activities like music therapy and art therapy.
Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) is a treatment that aims to keep your brain active by challenging it with new tasks that it does not usually do every day (such as playing games or solving puzzles). The aim is for your brain cells to stay healthy and active for longer, so they don’t deteriorate due to dementia.
A diet of fruit and vegetables will keep your blood pressure down and reduce the risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
It’s possible that nutritional supplements could reduce the risk of developing dementia.
Dementia treatment depends on the type you have, how severe it is, and your overall health. Different treatments help slow down the progression of your symptoms and help you live a better life.
The best dementia treatments in Ohio may help treat some symptoms of dementia. For example, cholinesterase inhibitors can improve memory loss and concentration. Antipsychotic medications may help treat anxiety or depression related to dementia.