Alzheimer's and dementia: more than memory loss

Oct 31st, 2017

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are numerous symptoms to alert caretakers to the onset of dementia.

  • Memory loss
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at work or home
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities

For those affected by dementia, the behavioral symptoms are often the most upsetting aspects of the condition. At Oceans, we treat these side effects and work to increase our patients’ quality of life while undergoing care.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, patients can experience:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Other changes in mood and personality

As the disease progresses, patients may encounter:

  • Verbal or physical outbursts
  • Emotional distress
  • Restlessness in the form of pacing, shredding paper, etc.
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Delusions/hallucinations

Here is how Oceans can help.

Alzheimer’s disease affects each person differently; therefore, no two patients should be treated the same. Care should be delivered to meet an individual’s needs, encouraging long-term, successful management of the physical, emotional and cognitive health challenges associated with the disease.

Medications are often prescribed to Alzheimer’s patients to treat behavioral symptoms and help them avoid higher levels of care in nursing homes and special care units. However, there are also other treatments that can be used in combination with or in place of these medications.

  • Individual and Group Therapy: For patients showing signs of anger or fear, emotional support from family, peers and a counselor is highly important. Group therapy has been shown to improve these symptoms for Alzheimer’s patients. 
  • Social Stimulation: Without social interaction, individuals with Alzheimer’s may become subdued and depressed. Activities as simple as going for a walk, listening to music or spending time with pets can enhance a patient’s quality of life and minimize behaviors related to psychosis.
  • Diet and Hydration: Managing a patient’s nutrition and hydration is imperative to preserve good brain function. Seniors are more at risk for dehydration and this can lead to muscle weakness, headaches and sleepiness.

While there is no curative treatment for the disease, there are many interventions physicians and caregivers can employ to ensure patients remain as safe and healthy as possible as the disease progresses. Being alert about behavioral changes and addressing those changes immediately in the most appropriate setting is imperative to maintaining their overall well-being.

To learn more about behavioral symptom treatment at Oceans, download our Alzheimer’s information sheet.

Related Articles:

Medication management and behavioral health treatment.

Recognize the three most common factors of psychosis, a side effect of Alzheimer’s.

 

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