Ways To Prevent Or Delay Dementia Or Alzheimers
A family history of Alzheimers or other types of dementia increases the chances of developing the condition, but there are strategies that help prevent these conditions. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle can be effective ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia. These include:
Exercise has been shown to have the largest impact on preserving memory and thinking skills. Exercise was shown to protect against the brain shrinking even if people with a family history of Alzheimers disease. Mutations in a specific gene , found in 30% of the population, can make it 10 times more likely that you will develop Alzheimers. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling at least three times a week makes brain shrinkage less likely in people with and without the gene mutation. Although the amount or type of exercise that is best is not known, in general, physical exercise that is physically healthy will also be mentally healthy ,
Long-term exposure to pesticides and other toxins that affect the neurological system, such as DEET and organophosphates, may increase the risk of Alzheimers and other types of dementia. Common exposures include mothballs , insect repellants used inside the home , on the lawn or farms and on the body .
No Easy Solutions But Improvement Is Usually Possible
As many of you know, behavior problems are difficult in dementia in large part because there is usually no easy way to fix them.
Many probably too many older adults with Alzheimers and other dementias are being medicated for their behavior problems.
If your family is struggling with behavior problems, I know that reading this article will not quickly solve them.
But I hope this information will enable you to make more informed decisions. This way youll help ensure that any medications are used thoughtfully, in the lowest doses necessary, and in combination with non-drug dementia behavior management approaches.
To learn about non-drug management approaches, I recommend this article: 7 Steps to Managing Difficult Dementia Behaviors
And if you are looking for a memory care facility, try to find out how many of their residents are being medicated for behavior. For people with Alzheimers and other dementias, its best to be cared for by people who dont turn first to chemical restraints such as antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.
This article was first published in 2016, and was last updated by Dr. K in May 2022.
Natural Ways To Soothe Anxiety Without Prescription Drugs
For all of these reasons, it is recommended to try alternatives to anti-anxiety pills whenever possible. Here are 5 strategies to soothe anxiety naturally.
Note: If youve taken benzodiazepines for a long time, dont stop taking them abruptly as this can heighten anxiety. Work with a physician to gradually taper off the drug as you try these other techniques.
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Finding Memory Care Near You
The early challenges posed by dementia-related memory decline can be taken care of at home relatively easy, up until it becomes a struggle to remember daily tasks like eating, or when to take your medication. If unpaid bills and chores begin to pile up, it can pose a health and financial risk that is truly necessary when there are so many community options available now to help aging people live in a healthy and safe environment. For those interested in seeking out dementia-friendly communities with access to medical staff and lifestyle amenities like meals and chore services, visit assistedliving.org to find out more information about memory care facilities near you. If you need assistance paying for memory care or other aging-related expenses, you might qualify for a Medicaid waiver.
Talk Therapy A Good Investment Our Survey Finds
Talk therapy offers two advantages over medication: no drug side effects and tools you can use for the long term.
When you take medication, you stop the medication and the problem may come back, says Michael First, M.D., professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. When you have a run of cognitive behavioral therapy, you actually learn a skill. Its something that sticks with you.
Going to therapy requires a time commitment, and the insurance claims process might be more cumbersome than with medications. Still, if your plan will pay or you can swing the out-of-pocket portion of the cost, our survey suggests its an investment worth making. Of the respondents who visited a mental-health professional for talk therapy, either alone or in conjunction with taking medication, 46 percent said the therapists had made things a lot better and 45 percent said they had made things somewhat better.
That finding was consistent regardless of whether the person had seen a psychologist, a social worker, or a licensed counselor. Helpfulness scores were somewhat higher for people who had seen a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who can prescribe medication. Of patients who went to psychiatrists, 59 percent received some talk therapy, usually in combination with medication the rest got only meds. In two states, appropriately trained psychologists have a limited authority to prescribe medications, but in general psychologists typically specialize in talk therapy.
What to do
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What Are Antipsychotic Drugs
Antipsychotic drugs are used to treat people who are experiencing severe agitation, aggression or distress from psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. They tend to be used only as a last resort, such as when the person, or those around them, are at immediate risk of harm.
For some people, antipsychotics can help to reduce the frequency or intensity of these changes. However, they also have serious risks and side effects, which the doctor must consider when deciding whether to prescribe them.
The first prescription of an antipsychotic should only be done by a specialist doctor. This is usually an old-age psychiatrist, geriatrician or GP with a special interest in dementia.
Buspirone For Anxiety And Agitation In Dementia
A 69-year-old woman presented with a 7-year history of decline in memory, disorientation and an inability to attend to the activities of daily life consistent with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Caregivers felt overwhelmed by her constant agitation, pacing and demands for staff attention, which often progressed rapidly to verbal and physical aggression. The patient complained of severe anxiety. No obvious reversible medical conditions contributed to her symptoms. Behavioural approaches were ineffective.
Full trials at therapeutic doses of donepezil, trazodone, citalopram, lithium carbonate, divalproex sodium, haloperidol, loxapine, risperidone, olanzapine and quetiapine, individually and in various combinations, had no therapeutic effect.
Because of the patient’s prominent anxiety, buspirone, titrated to a dose of 15 mg twice a day, was added to her current medications, a combination of trazodone, 300 mg daily, citalopram, 40 mg daily, and olanzapine, 10 mg every night. After 2 weeks at this dose, the staff reported that the patient’s episodes of anxiety and agitation were considerably less frequent and were resolved more rapidly. The use of antipsychotic drugs as needed decreased from 3 times daily to once or twice daily. The buspirone was tolerated without adverse effect. The improvement in the patient’s agitation continued over the next 4 weeks, permitting her to be placed in a complex care facility.
Competing interests: None declared.
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Anxiety In Older Adults
Nina Vadiei, PharmD and Jeannie Lee, PharmD, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona
TIPS FOR PHARMACOTHERAPY OF ANXIETY IN OLDER ADULTS
Anxiety disorders are common among older adults and associated with poor quality of life, increased disability, and cognitive impairment. Studies indicate that early treatment targeting full cessation of anxiety symptoms has considerable benefit for older adults. Despite this, anxiety disorders in late life are understudied and underreported, and patients are often under-treated. A variety of behavioral and pharmacological approaches are used to treat anxiety disorders. This edition of Elder Care will focus on evidence-based pharmacotherapy for treating anxiety in older adults.
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Reasons To Incorporate Dementia Medications
As your friend or family member progresses through the stages of dementia, they might need a bit of help with their changing emotions and behaviors. Various stages of dementia can cause your relative to easily become agitated, confused or upset. They might become aggressive or anxious. They might also experience hallucinations or have episodes of depression. All of these symptoms are part of dementia and can come and go.
Its important to remember that there is a reason why they are acting or responding in a certain way. Cognitive impairment has led to changes in the way your family member thinks, feels and behaves. In some cases, your friend or relatives symptoms can become more intense and potentially cause harm to themselves or to those providing wellness support. If your friend or family member cant receive the support they need and deserve, they wont be able to live their best life.
Medication can help them feel more comfortable and to experience a higher quality of life, whether living at home, in assisted living or at a dedicated memory care community.
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Best Anti Anxiety Medication For Elderly With Dementia
People with dementia can be upset or get anxious quite easily. It is also normal for people with such a condition to be rather restless and have issues sleeping. This is why you find them pacing up and down.
Anxiety is an issue that makes such elderly patients not be able to handle the daily routines and they can become very harmful to their loved ones or their caregivers. The best anti-anxiety medication for elderly with dementia should be administered to help them cope.
One of the greatest triggers of anxiety in such patients is change. It may be because the routine changes, or she /he is in new surroundings, or that he/she is surrounded by new faces.
It may also be because of fatigue or fear. Anxiety can also be because of infections or other underlying medical issues. If such a thing happens to a loved one and you are not able to point out the reason for the issue, you should seek help from a doctor to establish the real cause.
Benefits Of Treating Dementia With Medications
While there is no cure for dementia, taking medicine prescribed by a physician can have positive results. First and foremost, medications can help calm individuals suffering from worrisome symptoms like anxiety, depression, and agitation. The right medication can make life easier for family members and friends too, especially those who serve as caregivers. Drugs can also slow the progression of the disease, enhance cognitive function, and improve memory recall.
Nevertheless, it is important for caregivers to be aware that there is no guarantee their friend or family member will respond to the prescribed medication. There is also the possibility that the medications may actually worsen behavioral changes. Should this occur, a medical professional should be contacted immediately.
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Dementia Care At The Sterling Aventura
At The Sterling Aventura, our memory care program is designed specifically for residents dealing with memory impairments such as dementia and Alzheimers. Each program is customized to meet the needs of each of the communitys residents on four levels. These include focusing on the individuals physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.
The physical aspect ensures residents receive a healthy and nutritious diet and engage in exercise and activities. The social programs support already established relationships and encourage the creation of new ones with pets and people. The community also offers a variety of creative activities designed to get individuals involved mentally to help improve cognition and support personal spiritual beliefs and traditions.
Caregivers can achieve peace of mind knowing that well-trained and qualified staff in the community have the best interests of each resident in mind. The Sterling Aventura is dedicated to helping individuals live a safe, secure, and quality lifestyle.
To get an idea of what our community has to offer, visit our . For more information about our memory care neighborhood, contact us by filling out our convenient online form.
What Works Best For Treating Depression And Anxiety In Dementia
- By Stephanie Collier, MD, MPH, Contributor
Its 3 pm on a warm, sunny Saturday. For the past 20 years your mother would dress in her finest clothes and walk to her neighbors house for her weekly bridge game. For the past month, however, she has not been interested in playing bridge. Although she sometimes required prompting , she usually returned from these games cheerful. Her indifference this month is new.
Your mother received the diagnosis of mild Alzheimers disease last year. Although visibly frustrated at times, especially when she cannot think of the right word or find her pocketbook, she seemed to enjoy her routine until recently. You now see her crying in the morning. She is no longer sleeping or eating well, and she becomes scared when you leave her for a moment. You wonder whether she might benefit from medications.
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What Are Signs That Dementia Is Getting Worse
Increasing confusion or poor judgment. greater memory loss, including a loss of events in the more distant past. needing assistance with tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, and grooming. significant personality and behavior changes, often caused by the use of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol abuse or dependence is a serious medical condition that can lead to serious physical and mental health problems.
It can also affect your ability to work, care for yourself, or enjoy life. Signs of an alcohol problem include: drinking too much or too little of any alcoholic beverage drinking excessively or drinking on a regular basis .
A Better Approach To Treatment
Recently, researchers at Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry in New York studied the effectiveness of a new home-delivered therapy called Problem Adaptation Therapy, or PATH, in participants with depression and dementia or mild cognitive impairment.
In the PATH intervention, therapists meet with the participants in 12 weekly sessions to teach them how to solve problems contributing to sadness, through a personalized approach often involving caregivers. The therapist and patient develop a plan, which includes avoiding negatively charged situations and identifying stimuli that trigger positive emotions, such as scheduling pleasurable activities.
Therapists also help participants develop compensatory strategies, such as the use of calendars and checklists, to bypass functional limitations due to memory impairment. When compared to a control therapy, in which participants received 12 weeks of supportive therapy , participants treated with the PATH approach experienced a greater decrease in depressive symptoms and disability at week 12.
Although research on psychosocial interventions is still sparse, this new research is encouraging, as nonmedication treatments are desperately needed. Research is also emerging on psychosocial interventions to in people with cognitive disorders.
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Dementia Anxiety Treatment Closing Thoughts
Trying out different dementia anxiety treatment methods is crucial for a person with dementia.
This helps identify the most successful ones to help improve the life of the suffering individual significantly.
Before attempting any treatment option, it is important to consult a doctor to get the green light to go ahead.
The expert can also recommend the proper mix of drugs and caregiving tips to work with.
Cautions In Regard To Medications
Medications are sometimes prescribed and may help the person with dementia to relax. However the medications may have unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness. Emotional outbursts may also be an indication of untreated pain that the person cannot describe. Caregivers who witness this should consider getting a medical evaluation for their loved one.
The purpose of many of these medications is to protect and promote the safety and wellbeing of individuals with dementia and those around them. There are often ways to address the problematic behaviors and symptoms that can reduce or remove the need for a pharmacological solution. However, these decisions are best made in cooperation with your loved ones physician. Additionally, particular forms of dementia may not benefit as well from some of these drugs, so be sure that you and your physician are aware of the individuals diagnosis and its particular needs.
DementiaCareCentral.com was developed with funding from the National Institute on Aging . The site is for educational purposes, medical decisions should not be based on its content and its authors assume no liability for errors or omissions. Content cannot be reproduced without permission.©1995-2022.
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Medicines To Treat Related Conditions
There are some conditions, such as heart problems, that can affect symptoms of dementia, particularly vascular dementia. It’s important that these are diagnosed and treated.
These conditions include:
These changes in behaviour can be very distressing, both for the person with dementia and for the person caring for them. However, there are coping strategies that can help.
If coping strategies do not work, antipsychotic medicines such as risperidone or haloperidol may be prescribed for those showing persistent aggression or extreme distress.
These are the only medicines licensed for people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia where there’s a risk of harm to themselves or others.
Risperidone should be used at the lowest dose and for the shortest time possible as it has serious side effects. Haloperidol can be used only if other treatments have not helped.
The decision to prescribe a medicine should be taken by a consultant psychiatrist.
Antidepressants may sometimes be given if depression is suspected as an underlying cause of anxiety.