There are options available that may slow down the progress of dementia, depending on when the disease is discovered. These options include:
Those suffering from Alzheimer's experience a decrease in a brain chemical called acetylcholine. Medications that may help with loss include donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine. Your care provider will recommend the right medication for the stage of Alzheimer's being treated and the recommendation will vary for those with mild or severe conditions.
Cardiovascular exercise three times per week during mid and late life may result in a decreased risk of Alzheimer's Disease and non-Alzheimer's related dementias.
Recommended activities include brisk walking, hiking, aerobics, swimming, tennis, and the use of stationary exercise machines such as exercise bikes, a treadmill or elliptical trainer.
Leisure activities that use your mind’s thinking and reasoning skills can help to keep the nerve cells in the brain healthy and decrease the loss of cognitive skills.
Recommended activities include reading, writing, crossword puzzles, playing board or card games, playing musical instruments, group discussions and dancing.
The warning signs of Alzheimer's may include but are not limited to the following:
- having a hard time remembering parts of a conversation
- repeating statements during a conversation
- becoming lost in familiar places
- forgetting to pay bills
- trouble performing well-learned tasks at work
- difficulty navigating between two locations
- Begin to plan for the future. This may include getting financial and legal documents in order, investigating long-term care options, and determining what services are covered by health insurance and Medicare.
- Ask doctors any questions you may have about the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing research or clinical trials.
- Support groups are often safe areas to share your thoughts and concerns with others who are going through a similar experience. You might learn something helpful that could address a similar situation you are going through.
- Routines often help a person suffering from dementia stay alert. If there are times of the day when the person with Alzheimer's is less confused or more cooperative, plan your routine to make the most of those moments. Know that everyone who is dealing with this disease deals with change in different ways. It's important to be flexible and manage new problems as quickly as they arise.
- It is time consuming and emotionally draining caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and you may want to consider using adult day care or respite services to ease the day-to-day demands of care giving. It will allow you to take a break while knowing that your loved one is being well cared for.