The memory loss and cognitive impairment from Alzheimer’s cannot be reversed. The good news is that there are ways to slow the progression of the disease when the early signs and symptoms are recognized.
Mental Activity and Stimulation
Studies show that healthy, mentally active seniors are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia. Choose activities for your loved one that are pleasurable and mentally engaging, such as playing the piano, doing a crossword puzzle or learning a new language. Social interaction is also important, so make sure that your loved one is getting plenty of opportunities for engagement. All of these activities are responsible for strengthening passages in the brain.
Daily Life Modifications
Being frustrated all of the time leads to faster cognitive decline. It can also contribute to a person being more socially withdrawn and moody. To avoid this, find ways to minimize tasks around the home such as cleaning, paying bills and shopping for groceries. Make a list of all the areas that your loved one is finding stressful and find ways to resolve the issues, such as by hiring a lawn care service and setting up automatic bill payment. Just make sure that you implement these changes slowly.
Strive for Routine and Familiarity
Those with memory impairment thrive off of familiarity, so do your best to arrange for routine schedules. Meals should be served at the same time, medications should taken at the same time and doctor’s appointments should be scheduled around the same time, such as before lunch. Keep in mind that a stable routine will give your loved one a sense of independence and control.
Although we know little about what supplements can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, there are a few types of vitamins that are showing promise: Vitamin E and ginkgo biloba. Talk to your loved one’s doctor first, as supplements can interfere with certain medications. In addition to getting these supplements from foods, it’s also important to encourage a healthy diet, such as a mediterranean-style palette that includes beans, poultry and fish.
There are some medications that can be used to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s; just be aware that these are not miracle drugs. Not every drug works for every patient, and the medications are given at various stages of the disease. The most common medications prescribed for mild to moderate cases include Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne. Namenda is prescribed for moderate to severe cases.