1. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, especially vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, such as broccoli, cabbage (including red cabbage), cauliflower, etc. Make sure any allergies and other special dietary requirements are medically addressed before following any suggestions. Always consult your physician or dietician.
2. Regular exercise such as walking and lots of fresh air will help facilitate the flow of blood and bring oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
3. Stay mentally active. Crossword puzzles, card games, knowledge games and puzzles in general are said to be helpful in forming new pathways in the brain that support memory.
4. Ask your doctor about including anti-oxidants such as vitamin E as well as the B-complex vitamins, especially B-12 and folic acid. It is believed that a deficiency in vitamin B-12 may cause memory related problems. Also, there has been some controversy lately as to the amount of vitamin E that may be beneficial, vs. the amount that might be counterproductive. Make sure you ask your doctor before you start taking any vitamins – the same applies to herbal supplements.
5. Music therapy! It brings joy in the life of an Alzheimer’s afflicted person and brings back the words of beloved songs to even some severe stage Alzheimer’s patients. Some studies have shown that some severe stage patients who are generally unresponsive, seem to respond well to music.
6. Try to keep active socially. It’s important that Alzheimer’s sufferers have a strong circle of family and friends and have the opportunity to interact with them often. It may help keep the “memory data” of loved ones constantly updated.
7. Proper breathing is beneficial for everyone, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. Learning how to inhale deeply through the nose and exhale slowly through the mouth may bring a boost of oxygen to the body’s cells and help in the removal of toxins. It can be made to appear fun when two or more people do their breathing exercises together.
8. Keeping up one’s skills in various areas such as gardening, cooking, special hobbies and sports of interest to the individual is very important. Learning new skills and taking up new hobbies is always mind-stimulating for anyone. Due to the fact that judgment may be impaired in an Alzheimer’s patient, it is important that special safety considerations are taken into account by the person’s environment in anything/everything this person is involved with. Supervision during these activities may also be necessary. Depending on the stage of the disease, this supervision may also be discreet.
9. Be sure to visit a neurologist, gerontologist or geriatrician, who specializes in Alzheimer’s Disease, at the first suspicion of Alzheimer’s. There are some medications available that may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and early detection is always important. Many other diseases have similar symptoms and may easily be confused with Alzheimer’s. It’s important that the diagnosing physician rules out the various other possibilities before a positive diagnosis for Alzheimer’s is made. Many other diseases such as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus can cause Alzheimer's-like symptoms and can be corrected. It has been suggested that Lyme Disease can also cause Alzheimer-like symptoms. It may be prudent to have your doctor rule out that possibility before reaching a final diagnosis.
10. Keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels within the normal range. It has been suggested that people with diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels may be more prone to Alzheimer’s Disease.
11. Plan activities that you know your loved one will enjoy. Laugh. Do it often. Laughter is believed to trigger the release of endorphins – the body’s natural pain killers – and to reduce the level of stress hormones.
12. LOVE: The most powerful medicine of all! Show your love, support and nurturing to a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Be inclusive in various stimulating activities. Ask the person’s advice. Make the Alzheimer’s patient feel important, a vital part of the family and society at large. He/she will flourish!
Very Important! – Before following any suggestions, please consult with your doctor. Only he can tell you what may or may not help. Please read our Legal Disclaimer.