November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. We at Atlantic Coast Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center would like to use this opportunity to bring you information about an aspect of the disease that, while common, gets little press.
Agitation is one of the most common symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s. It is not only an issue for the person with Alzheimer’s, it is also a major stressor for their caregiver. A paper in the journal International Psychogeriatrics finds that too often the first-line approach to managing agitation in people with Alzheimer’s is medication, primarily psychiatric medications.
The study found nonpharmacological methods to be far better options, and suggested they be prioritized before medication. The study supports “person-centered care,” which manages agitation — as well as other common behavioral symptoms such as aggression — by examining and changing the physical and social contexts in which these behaviors occur.
The study also recommends working closely with caregivers — for the sake of education, behavior management, and support — in order to adapt the environment to suit the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s.
Among the best strategies is the use of music therapy. Research shows that music therapy is an effective component of behavioral management, and can help eliminate the need for medication.
The study’s authors emphasize that many of the medications commonly prescribed to manage psychosis and agitation in people with dementia are themselves harmful, and can cause a significant increase in the risk of stroke or death.
The ability to manage, and possibly eliminate, distressing behaviors without resorting to medication goes a long way to improving the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s, as well as those who care for them.
Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, provides care that is specifically designed to address the needs of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.
For the safety and well-being of cognitively impaired residents, Atlantic Coast offers a separate secure unit. The wide corridors are homelike and easy to navigate, creating an environment with a sense of familiarity and security.
The Alzheimer’s unit caregivers are specially trained to care for memory impaired residents. With their extra sensitivity and understanding of the condition and its impact, our caregivers treat each resident with dignity and love.
The cognitively impaired care program helps patients maximize their cognitive function. Likewise, the activities program is designed to foster social interaction and an appreciation of life.
For patients in more advanced stages, innovative sensory therapies such as audiovisual stimuli and aromatherapy are beneficial in inducing a sense of calm.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.