What’s the Best Way to Treat Dementia in the Elderly?

What’s the Best Way to Treat Dementia in the Elderly?

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Most forms of dementia aren’t curable. Therefore, when “treatment” is discussed if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a similar dementia-related condition, it’s usually in reference to managing symptoms and enhancing quality of life as much as possible. For many seniors with dementia, the best treatment is a comprehensive plan that covers many different aspects and phases of the condition. Some of the more common treatment recommendations are discussed below. 

Medication

The rate of brain cell loss due to disruptions in nerve signal transmissions and other abnormal changes and the extent of memory impairment can be minimized with certain medications. For instance, cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil and rivastigmine boost levels of chemicals found in the parts of the brain that handle memory and judgment. Medication may also be prescribed to manage related dementia problems involving: 

  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Tremors and instability related to Parkinson’s disease dementia 
  • Agitation 

Families looking for top-rated in-home care providers can reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care Columbia. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

The goal with physical therapy for seniors with dementia is to increase balance and coordination and reduce the risk of falls and similar situations that could result in injuries as the condition progresses. While occupational therapy is often part of a dementia treatment plan that includes physical therapy, it’s different in that it’s focused on teaching seniors and their family caregivers techniques they can use to manage cognitive decline and other issues. An occupational therapist can also offer advice on how to: 

  • Make your loved one’s home safer 
  • Modify your loved one’s immediate environment in relation to his or her symptoms 
  • Perform daily functions in a way that retains independence and dignity 
  • Prepare for additional symptoms that may develop later 

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care service. Columbia families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Alternative Therapies

Managing agitation and promoting relaxation can make life easier and less stressful for seniors with dementia and their caregivers. This is a goal sometimes achieved with what are termed “alternative therapies.” For example, light exercise promotes the release of beneficial chemicals called endorphins that may boost mood and minimize physical discomfort. Other alternative therapies that might be part of your loved one’s treatment plan include: 

  • Music and art therapy to promote relaxation and increase focus 
  • Aromatherapy to minimize sleep problems and anxiety 
  • Massage therapy to increase body awareness and alertness 
  • Pet therapy to help with mood and behavioral issues 

Lifestyle Modifications

Because of the nature of dementia, seniors often respond well to lifestyle adjustments, many of which can also be helpful for caregivers looking for ways to minimize the impact of cognitive and behavioral issues. With communication, use clear, simple sentences and remain focused on one task or topic to avoid creating confusion. Additional lifestyle adjustments that could be beneficial for older adults with dementia include: 

  • Encouraging participation in activities that help with mental focus 
  • Establishing regular routines to reduce agitation and confusion 
  • Shifting to a diet that includes berries, whole grains, dark chocolate in moderation, and other memory-boosting foods

There are a variety of reasons to consider professional dementia care. Columbia dementia caregivers are available 24/7 to help seniors maintain better cognitive health, and they can also assist with various tasks like medication reminders, transportation to medical appointments, and nutritious meal preparation. If you need professional care for your loved one, Assisting Hands Home Care is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 443-233-1245.