Im a firm believer in the dictum "God helps those who
Therefore, as an Alzheimers caregiver, Ive spent considerable time
striving to find out what could be done to help my charge, who also happens to be my wife.
I quickly learned theres no panacea or miracle cure available for the AD victim.
However, there are items I believe to be helpful. They wont effect a
cure, but its my conviction that certain medications and diet supplements can be
credited with stabilizing, or at the least retarding, Alzheimers
Foremost among these is Aricept. This is an expensive prescription drug that runs about
$4.00 per, and is taken once a day. It comes in five and 10 mg size. Price is same for
both. Aricept has received considerable publicity, but due to the nature of
Alzheimers I cant vouch positively that its been helpful. But I
believe it has helped retard progress. And after almost nine months of administering this
drug to my wife, Ive observed no negative physical reaction.
A tip: Ive been fortunate inasmuch as my wifes psychiatrist, and our
"family doctor" have been generous in supplying us with "samples"
which I assume they get from pharmaceutical salesmen. As the Good Book says,
"Ask and thou shall receive." Maybe!
According to the Alzheimer's
Association, this disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United
States. Their site has quite a bit of data and statistics. It also has advice
resources for those caring for Alzheimer's victims. The video at right is on
Youtube, but we found it on their site.
There is a difference between
Alzheimer's and dementia. Many people assume these are the same, but you can
have dementia without Alzheimer's.
You can get dementia symptoms from many
Lack of sleep.
Toxins in the home.
This is important to know, because misdiagnosis is common. Before simply giving
up and saying, "Well, the doctor says it's Alzheimer's," work on eliminating
other causes of memory loss. The doctor might be wrong, and the person with the
memory problems is missing out on having those problems solved. Or the doctor
might be right but these other problems are compounding the Alzheimer's or
It's important you don't self-diagnose. That's why we haven't
defined dementia or Alzheimer's here. What you want is a methodical process of
examination by specialist physicians. Don't just go to one doctor and get a
diagnosis. Instead, ask your family medicine doctor or other primary caregiver
to help you develop a plan for proper and thorough assessment. There are
different specialists who will have to tackle different aspects.
In the meantime, work on reducing contributing factors. Do note that this
aspect does not replace getting that assessment.
If you are the one who is suffering from some apparent mental impairment, ask
someone close to you for help. Explain what you're going through (they have
probably noticed) and that you want a coach to keep track of the process of
reducing contributing factors. That person's job will be to review your plans,
help you carry them out (which might mean finding someone to help you), and keep
tabs on your progress.
If you are the caregiver, explain to the other person what your role is and
establish clear lines of authority and responsibility. Write down what you agree
to. This way, there aren't hard feelings, conflicts, or confusion over this. The
person you are trying to help is already having enough confusion.
Here are some general tips on reducing contributing
Keep a sleep diary. Note the bedtime, rising time, and any difficulty
sleeping. If sleep is a problem, buy Mindconnection's
Sleepless Causes and Cures Course. It works far, far better than
sleeping pills because it helps you solve root causes of sleeplessness.
Exercise your body. Simply going on a brisk 30 minute walk each day will
help, but more vigorous exercise is better. Walk up and down stairs, for 30
minutes, and your walking will be far more beneficial. Gardening is good, if
you have a place to do it. Weight training is good, if you have someone to
show you how to do that correctly.
Exercise your mind. Many studies and common sense support the idea that
"use it or lose it" applies to the human mind. Read books (nonfiction), do
puzzles, solve problems. If you're an older person (the typical Alzheimer's
demographic), mentor younger people. The mental exercise of helping them
solve their problems will give your brain a workout! Important: If you have
a television, get rid of it.
Drink coffee. Recent studies confirm what earlier studies confirmed!
Coffee aids the brain. Try drinking 3 cups per day, but not late in the day
or you'll be bug-eyed at bedtime. Do not drink decaf; it doesn't have the
same benefits. As a bonus, coffee is a powerful anti-oxidant and cancer
Get out. Emotional depression causes memory loss. So get out in the
sunshine a bit, get out and socialize. Visit people and places. Visit your
local public library and see what programs they offer or what other groups
there are in your community. Ask for help in starting a group, if that
appeals to you. Or just volunteer to help a local non-profit.