In a society where intelligence is paramount, and everything else subjugated to it, being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be a devastating blow. Not only to the person diagnosed but also to everyone associated with him/her.
If you are one of those people taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, then you might be wondering how is Alzheimer’s treated.
There are many more options for people with Alzheimer’s than were available a few years ago. The National Institute of Health alone is going to spend $2.8 billion on Alzheimer’s research in 2020.
That’s great news because it means that a cure could be discovered shortly with all these efforts underfoot. Read on to see some Alzheimer’s treatment options that are available to the public right now.
Alzheimer’s treatment is primarily done through prescription medications. These are to treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s. There are two kinds of medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These are cholinesterase inhibitors and N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists. No need to get worried about the technical terms here.
In its essence, cholinesterase inhibitors ensure that the lower levels of acetylcholine in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is increased. Thus, brain functioning can improve.
The second class of medications only has one drug in it called Namenda. And this works by regulating the levels of glutamate (amino acid) in the brain, which facilitates learning, but too much of it can cause brain cells to die.
The two medications above only focus on cognitive health, but other drugs can be used that focus on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
These could be antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety meds, and more.
Lifestyle Assessment and Home Remedies
Another major thing that Alzheimer’s carers need to focus on is treating the psychological, behavioral, and emotional symptoms of the disease, by changing the way you interact with and live with the patient.
It is tough being the carer of an Alzheimer’s patient. Suddenly, this person you knew before isn’t the same. It also comes with a barrage of challenges that perhaps you aren’t prepared for, mentally or emotionally.
An important thing to do when living with an Alzheimer’s patient is to figure out what behaviors trigger the patient particularly. Is it taking a shower? Or being alone at home when you go out for groceries?
Once you can identify the behavior, try something different next time.
This non-drug approach means that you try to understand what causes them to be anxious or upset and work on that, rather than using a prescription medication every single time.
People with Alzheimer’s need validation even more so than people without the disease.
This means that if they are asking for something from you that’s impossible to do, having a conversation about it, and validating their request is more important than making them understand the truth of the situation.
Converse with them, and make them feel like they’ve been heard. In a lot of cases, that’s all it takes for them to calm down.
Even on those days where you are full-up and too busy to take care of the person with Alzheimer’s, patience has to be the foremost quality you bring out from within yourself. No matter how impossible it may seem.
A person with Alzheimer’s might have been active, social, and outgoing before their diagnosis, which means that they could be bored and looking for something meaningful to do with their time.
You could offer them opportunities to socialize with their friends, or to help out with household chores, like washing the dishes. Every little thing helps.
Also, if you can make some of those activities physically active, it’s even better. Exercise has the potential to improve cognitive functioning, and it’s important to take advantage of this.
You can take them out for long walks or to a swimming pool. Aerobic exercise classes are also a great idea because they involve hand-eye-limb coordination which improves brain health. Any kind of exercise will be great for them.
Staying Mentally Active
Doing puzzles, or brain teasers, playing trivia games on the phone, or chess online — these are all things that will help an Alzheimer’s patient stay mentally activated and interested.
If they like to read, going to the public library and getting books to read could be on the agenda as well.
Most Alzheimer’s patients tend to spend all their time in front of the television, watching show after show, but that doesn’t help with their brain health. In fact, it might be deteriorating to it. Get them a tablet, and start them with some eBooks or brain games.
Don’t let them get mentally lazy and keep them on their toes, mentally speaking.
How is Alzheimer’s treated without traditional medicine’s intervention? It isn’t, unfortunately.
Even though there are some alternative medicines that you can give your Alzheimer’s patient, it should always be used as an add-on to traditional medicine.
There are some promising studies that show the effectiveness of Vitamin E supplementation on improvement of cognition, but this is something that’s still in the trial stages.
Also, Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help with brain health, so that could be something to try.
Meditation has shown over and over again to be beneficial for brain health, and thus, a daily 20-minute meditation would be a great addition to whatever other treatments are in place.
Meditation can help improve focus, concentration, and reduce anxiety, which would all be helpful to an Alzheimer’s patient.
How Is Alzheimer’s Treated? In Lots of Diverse Ways
Now that you are a semi-expert on how is Alzheimer’s treated, you will be better able to assist your parent or relative who is suffering from this terrible disease.
But if you feel like you are not up for the task or you are burnt out from it, there are many assisted living options that will ensure that the Alzheimer’s patient is taken care of 24/7.
This way you can assuage the guilt you feel about not taking care of your Alzheimer’s patient as required.
If you would like to take a 3D virtual tour of Anchorage Alaska’s premier senior assisted living and memory care community, please check out our website.