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Help With Alzheimer's Disease

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition. It is one of the most common forms of dementia, a group of symptoms that lead to a decline in mental function severe enough to disrupt daily life. Alzheimer’s causes problems with a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Jun 26, 2017
Sharing Stories of Hope and Recovery

When people share their stories of coping with mental illness or substance use disorder, it can provide inspiration and hope and be a welcome reminder that you are not alone in your challenges.

  • Jun 21, 2017
Relax, Take a Deep Breath

Most of us have probably heard, or made the suggestion to someone, to “relax, take a deep breath” as a way to help calm down and reduce stress or anxiety. Breathing techniques have long been used as part of traditional stress reduction practices and their use is supported by much research. Practices involving consciously controlling and focusing on your breathing can be powerful tools for relaxation, stress reduction and mental health.

  • May 11, 2017
Mental Health Month and Prevention Week: Focus on Teen Behaviors and Warning Signs

May is Mental Health Month, and the third week in May is National Prevention Week, an annual health observance focused on raising awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health. You can join online to view the live kickoff event for National Prevention Week on May 15, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

Upcoming Events
Jun
2017
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Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
  • Thur,  Jun  01 - Fri,  Jun  30
Jun
2017
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Find Local Events and Support
  • Thur,  Jun  01 - Fri,  Jun  30

Alzheimer’s Association

Jun
2017
01
Walk to End Alzheimer’s - Find Local Events
  • Thur,  Jun  01 - Fri,  Jun  30

Alzheimer’s Association

I understand there are medications that can help with Alzheimer’s. Are there medications that actually help slow memory loss? Are they appropriate for everyone with Alzheimer’s?

There are no medications available today which slow memory loss over an extended period of time. The medications approved for Alzheimer’s have been shown in controlled studies to slow memory loss over a few months, but after 6-12 months, memory decline in those who take the medications is similar to those who do not take the medications. New drugs are being studied, and hopefully one or more will demonstrate a clear ability to reduce or stop the decline in memory impairment (we should not expect any of the drugs to restore memory loss). More

My father-in-law is experiencing some memory problems. At what point should he seek help?

It is always a good plan to have your father-in-law examined by an experienced geriatrician or geriatric psychiatrist when signs of memory loss emerge. The reason is that memory loss may not be due to Alzheimer’s or another irreversible dementia. Medications, an acute illness, or even a brain tumor may be causing the problem. Nevertheless, over the long run for the vast majority of persons with memory loss, it is important to monitor function carefully. Occasional forgetfulness, such as forgetting names, is not a major problem. Yet when the older adult begins to leave the stove on, repeatedly loses his car keys and cannot locate them, cannot keep up with usual personal business (such as banking) or cannot find his way home driving from a familiar place, then help (often from a social worker) is most important to maintain independent living as long as possible. Alzheimer’s support groups are found in most communities and they can be of great assistance to people with Alzheimer’s and their families. You can start with your state or local office on aging or a local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. More

My mom has memory problems that are really impacting her life, but she’s refusing to seek evaluation or help. What can we do?

In such situations, I will revert to the “family conference.” In such a setting, all significant members of the family (spouse if living, children, siblings) meet alone first and agree on the significance of the problem and what needs to be done with the assistance of a social worker who is skilled in the day-to-day management of memory problems. A plan is devised. Then the family meets with the older adult and as a group virtually insists that the older adult seek help, if not for her sake, then for the sake of the family. Have an appointment already set up. Have at least two family members go with the older adult to the evaluation and make certain that the family (in the presence of the older adult) express to the clinician the problems that have been noticed. This approach works most of the time IF the family is in agreement and speaks as one voice. More

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About the Expert:

Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor in Community and Family Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Roger’s Story

Roger, a 71-year-old man, was referred to a psychiatrist by his primary care doctor for symptoms of depression that had not responded to medication. Roger’s wife reported that he had begun to change at age 68, about a year after his retirement. He had stopped playing golf and cards, which he had enjoyed for decades. He no longer looked forward to going out of the house, and he refused to socialize. Instead, he sat on the couch all day and watched TV or napped. His wife said he was sleeping 10-13 hours a day instead of his normal seven hours.

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MAY 21, 2017

TPR Lifeline: Alzheimer's Versus Dementia

Texas Public Radio

The memory robbing disease Alzheimer’s can be a frightening diagnosis. But how do you know if your parent or loved one is just getting older or is actually battling Alzheimer’s? In today’s TPR Lifeline, Wendy Rigby talks to Ginny Funk, program and advocacy director of the San Antonio chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

MAY 22, 2017

Study opens door to possibility that nutritional intervention could prevent Alzheimer's disease

News-Medical.net

The incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is expected to triple in the coming decades and no cure has been found. In a new study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers have found that for patients with high omega-3 levels, blood flow in specific areas of the brain is increased. "This study is a major advance in demonstrating the value of nutritional intervention for brain health by using the latest brain imaging," commented George Perry, PhD, Dean and Professor of Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

MAY 22, 2017

How Service Dogs Are Trained for Dementia Patients

Alzheimer's News Today

Service dogs can provide a helping hand for anyone suffering from dementia. They can be taught hundreds of small tasks that can really make a big difference to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients, giving them back some autonomy, allowing them to get more out of life and taking some of the burden from caregivers.

Physician Review By:

Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.
September 2015