At the current level of medical science and understanding, Alzheimer’s disease is incurable. While understanding of Alzheimer’s has increased exponentially over the last two decades, managing and treating the disease is still largely an effort in controlling symptoms and ensuring an individual’s comfort and dignity. The following items are currently the widely accepted methods for managing the disease:
Depending upon how advanced a person’s case is, there are several medications may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms. The most common of these drugs work on the brain’s chemistry, helping to slow the breakdown of certain beneficial brain chemicals, while another helps function of the neurotransmitters. While they may, for a time, improve an individual’s cognition and functional abilities, no drug will permanently stop the progression of Alzheimer’s.
In addition to these, other psychoactive medications such as the antidepressants have proven helpful in treating the behavioral symptoms, such as agitation, that can occur in Alzheimer's patients.
Remaining active and mentally stimulated plays a large role in helping manage Alzheimer’s disease. Inactivity can lead to accelerated deterioration in condition, so activities such as games, puzzles (word games, crosswords, Sudoku, etc.), physical exercise, arts & crafts, hobbies and pet therapy may allow individuals with Alzheimer’s to maintain levels of independence longer. Aside from the physical and cognitive benefits these provide, activities have shown to be effective in improving mood and behavior.
The level of care required by an Alzheimer’s patient goes through many stages as the disease progresses. Matching the level of caregiving required with the patient’s stage is vital to managing Alzheimer’s. Click here to see our page on the levels of dementia caregiving.
- What should families know about Alzheimer's research?
- How fast does Alzheimer's progress?
- Is dementia reversible or curable?
- How can I prevent agitaiton in my loved one with dementia?
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Understanding what Alzheimer's does to the brain
Reducing your risks of contracting Alzheimer's
Recognizing the effects of Alzheimer's
How is Alzheimer's diagnosed?
What to expect as Alzheimer's progresses
Return to main Alzheimer's information page.
Return to the main Types of Dementia page
A form of dementia connected with repetetive head traumas and concussions. Learn more here.
Frontotemporal dementia is often responsible for early-onset dementia cases. Learn more here.
Symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors and changes in speech and gait are common. Learn more here.
Causes a decline in cognitive skills due to brain cell damage due to circulatory problems. Learn more here.
A common form of dementia combining Alzheimer's-like cognitive symptoms and Parkinson's-like motor issues.