With each sand that passes through the Alzheimer's hourglass, one wants to grab for treatment and pull that grain of sand back.
With each sand that passes through the Alzheimer’s hourglass, one wants to grab for treatment and pull that grain of sand back. As of now, there is no cure available. Treatment is individual and involves family and all members of the healthcare team. The physician may prescribe medications which may or may not assist with the cognitive problems of Alzheimer’s Disease, but may slow the rate of decline of the disease process or improve the person’s quality of life.
Medications may include: Cognex, Exelon, Razadyne, Aricept, and Namenda. Other medications may be used to treat other diagnosis that the person may be experiencing such as hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases and others that the person may have outside of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Care should be taken to make life the best it can be by altering lifestyles
at home to adjust to what a person with Alzheimer’s Dementia can endure, while involving one’s family to savor the memories that remain.
This also begs the question of how to prevent or stop the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Gad Marshall, Associate Medical Director of Clinical Trials at the Center for Alzheimer’s Research at Harvard suggests healthy habits, such as exercise, a Mediterranean diet, getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, learning new things or improvement on a learned task to keep the brain thinking and connecting socially can play major roles to hedge or“ward off” Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia.
The hourglass slowly empties and the person with Alzheimer’s Disease gradually fades and becomes incapable of tending to his or her own needs and, therefore, becomes dependent on others to manage his care.
This “Forgetting Disease” can be a real challenge for the family and caregivers to maintain their loved one’s dignity while assuring daily physical care and safety. It is important to remember that as family and caregivers, one must enter their world because they cannot re-renter our world. To do that one must listen closely to find out where they are at any given moment.
We cannot forget the caregivers and family. Caring for the caregivers and family is very
important, as the strain of caring for and watching a loved one decline can be physically and emotionally stressful. An afternoon of respite may be refreshing.
Professional treatment from physicians, nurses and therapists on an outpatient basis such as clinics and home health are needed during the first stages. As the disease progresses to the later stages nursing home or hospice may be needed. Resources are also available through the Alzheimer’s Association.
Sandra Clack is a member of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Runnels County which is comprised of health care professionals throughout the county. Members meet on the first Thursday of the first full week of the month.