Advice by Proxim - Ralph Mokbel

Alzheimer's Disease: Treatment

To this day, there is no treatment to cure Alzheimer’s disease. Available treatments slow down the progression of the disease but do not cure it. They help afflicted individuals preserve their mental and physical abilities, thus prolonging their autonomy and delaying the need for constant care. Without treatments, the progression is rapid. It is therefore important to start treatments as early as possible. Available treatments include:

1) Cholinesterase inhibitors are used to treat light to moderate symptoms. There are three drugs in this class in Canada.

2) NMDA-receptor antagonists. They treat the symptoms of afflicted individuals who are in mid or severe stages. There is only one drug in this group in Canada.

3) Other drugs can be prescribed to treat different disorders, such as mood swings, restlessness, and hostility.

Contrary to other diseases, drugs are not the focus of the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Awareness and lifestyle can make all the difference. That is one of the reasons why caregivers’ help is so precious for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are a few general tips:

1) Set up a routine: waking, washing, dressing, and eating at regular hours.
2) Try to let the person dress himself. If buttoning shirts or lacing shoes becomes too difficult, adhesive ties (Velcro) can help.

3) If the sufferer is in a quandary, use diversion to lighten the mood.

4) Make your home a safe environment. Lock doors to prevent the person from leaving the house and getting lost.

5) Use calendars, clocks, and newspapers to help the person with time orientation.

6) Place lamps and nightlights around the house to help nocturnal movements.

7) Register the person with the Safely Home registry, Alzheimer Wandering Registry developed by the Alzheimer Society of Canada in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


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