Alzheimer’s disease is a deteriorating disease and there is no treatment to stop the advancement of it. You may feel like there is no hope. But finding the resources available to you and a community that can support you and your loved one will bring you hope.
You may not have a cure, but you do have help.
Establishing a Care Plan
You started with your loved one’s physician and he or she is the right resource to help you craft a care plan. A care plan is some combination of medicine, therapy, behavior modification, and precautionary measures.
Care plans should be dynamic and advance as your loved one’s condition advances. They should address the symptoms your loved one exhibits during the stage she is in and then flex to accommodate new symptoms as they arise.
There are five approved drugs, which have been shown to reduce or relieve symptoms, but these medications have limited capabilities. Whether or not they work is determined by your loved one’s biological response to them and the dosage prescribed by the physician.
Active Management of Alzheimer’s Disease
Active management of AD is the most common treatment. Active management care plans involve mitigating the impact to care provides and patients alike caused by the progression of the disease by anticipating the progression and being proactive. Active management may involve the following:
- Use of available treatment options
- Management of environmental conditions
- Management of co-existing conditions
- Coordination of care among an individual’s physicians and care givers
- Support groups and counseling
A care plan can include environmental modification such as removing items from a cluttered room to make your loved one feel less overwhelmed. Memory care patients sometimes struggle identifying pictures, the people in them, and the events they depict. Those struggles can be frustrating and humiliating, leading to emotional and behavioral issues that affect everyone concerned.
Conversations where your loved one loses track of what is being said can also embarrass them. Slowing your speech and staying on topic can help your loved one follow the conversation. In this small way, you can keep your loved one engaged and her confidence intact.
A care plan’s precautionary measures might include arranged transportation for doctor’s appointments, grocery store outings, and social events. Habit changes like check-in phone calls or visits at specific times of the day or week can strengthen the predictability of your loved one’s schedule. Simplification and predictability will also give your loved one confidence and reduce her discomfort over uncertainty.
Active management of AD should focus on making your loved one as comfortable as possible. Care plans that reduce uncertainty, with schedules for example, are most successful.