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Article by: Robert V. Rowe of rvralzheimers.com

I’m a firm believer in the dictum "God helps those who help themselves." Therefore, as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I’ve 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 there’s no panacea or miracle cure available for the AD victim. However, there are  items I believe to be helpful. They won’t effect a cure, but it’s my conviction that certain medications and diet supplements can be credited with stabilizing,  or at the least retarding, Alzheimer’s inexorable progress.

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 Alzheimer’s I can’t vouch positively that it’s been helpful.  But I believe it has helped retard progress. And after almost nine months of administering this drug to my wife, I’ve observed no negative physical reaction.

A tip: I’ve been fortunate inasmuch as my wife’s 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!

Robert V. Rowe     http://www.rvralzheimers.com

***See Robert's ALZHEIMER'S (A Caregiver's Day-By-Day Account) at the URL above.

More about Alzheimer's below--informative video, plus an article "Alzheimer's Facts and Help."



Alzheimer's Facts and Help

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 factors, including:

  • Lack of sleep.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Toxins in the home.
  • Overmedication
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 dementia.

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 factors:

  • 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 killer.
  • 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.

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