Dementia Care: What's New
Here’s a rundown of the latest research into dementia causes and treatments.
1. Exercising daily lowers Alzheimer’s risk.
The risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline could be reduced by engaging in daily physical activity, even in those older than 80 years. “The results of our study indicate that all physical activities including exercise as well as other activities such as cooking, washing the dishes, and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle,” commented the study’s author. This is good news for dementia sufferers who reside in an assisted living community that emphasizes physical activity as a key part of dementia care.
2. Behavior–based treatment for dementia care is a good option.
Dementia sufferers are often prescribed psychotropic drugs to mitigate symptoms such as delusions; however, this tactic can cause more harm than good, conclude researchers. Many of the delusions experienced by dementia patients have a rational basis and so can be better treated with behavioral therapy than with medication. This is important for those seeking an assisted living community for their loved one with dementia. Look for a residence that minimizes medical intervention and emphasizes a more holistic approach to dementia care.
3. More evidence links diabetes to dementia.
Diabetes sufferers are at a significantly higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, finds a new study that boosts previous research connecting the two illnesses. Preventing or controlling type 2 diabetes requires a careful diet, exercise and sometimes medication.
4. Dementia screening should be part of primary care.
Many don’t realize they have dementia until it advances to a stage where it is undeniable. But if primary care doctors routinely screened patients for dementia at annual check-ups, just as they do for high blood pressure or cholesterol, they could likely identify those in need of dementia care and reassure those who are healthy, says a panel of dementia experts.
5. Amyvid for PET scans is approved by the FDA.
Amyvid, a medication for PET (Positron Emission Tomography) adult brain scans, was recently approved by the FDA as an adjunct to other tests used to diagnose dementia. Using Amyvid allows clinicians to detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier as well as accurately identify patients with early signs of memory impairment. It is a radioactive agent that tags ß-amyloid proteins, thought by many to be hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Excellent dementia care should be your primary goal as you seek an assisted living community for your loved one. What do you hope dementia researchers can tell us in coming years?
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The best dementia care programs have many programming, safety and accomodation components. Learn how we've combined these to bring the latest in dementia care programming to our communities.