Dementia treatment options

You are searching for information about dementia. Dementia is a serious disease. It can affect memory, behavior and even personality. This can raise questions, such as: What can be done about it? How will dementia change the patient's life? Does the patient need to live in a nursing home? What is the best dementia treatment option?

Diseases that cause dementia

Dementia itself is not a disease, but a symptom that can occur in many diseases. For example, it can be a symptom of Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia (dementia due to strokes), Parkinson's disease and brain cancer.

Treatment options for dementia

Although the diseases that cause dementia are usually incurable, drugs often have a good influence. Alongside medication, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy can help the patient. These therapies are all aimed at conserving and supporting the skills that a patient still possesses. If the patient is restless, medication can be used. Sometimes, radical measures are needed to protect the patient against himself. If the patient has troubles remembering his identity and what he was going to do, his living circumstances can be adjusted. Furthermore, a strong structure and order are necessary in the patient's everyday life. Depending on the severity of the dementia, permanent 24/7 attendance may be required.

Attention to the caretakers

The caretakers of the dementia patient may need help as well. Taking care of a dementia patient can be exhausting. The caretakers may get trapped in social exclusion, tensions may rise and arguments may happen more frequently. To counter this, you can take family therapy or join a group consisting of fellow caretakers

Living will

An important thing, that a demented patient needs to do if still able, is to make a living will. This living will contains the patient's wishes to what happens when he/she is no longer able to decide for him/herself ( 'legal incapacity' ).

Dementia decision aids

Guidelines exist for the treatment of dementia. But these are guidelines, not rules; there is still a lot to choose. A decision aid supports you in choosing a treatment. In this case, it clarifies the different treatment options for dementia. But remember: a decision aid can never replace a conversation with a doctor. You could, however, consider a treatment described in a decision aid, together with your doctor. You can also use this decision aid to consult with your relatives or friends.

Alzheimers disease (OHRI): multiple decision aids about the treatment methods EN