Munson Health
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Alzheimers Disease

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by Badash M
If you are diagnosed with Alzheimers disease (AD), it is important that you and your family members begin to make plans and decisions as soon as possible regarding your future care and treatment. You may eventually begin to lose the ability to do some tasks for yourself and will need a caregiver to help you. This caregiver may be a family member, friend, or hired health professional.
In the vast majority of cases, the primary responsibility for the care of patients with AD falls on a family member, usually a spouse. Over time, as the condition progresses, the spouse caregiver will find it more and more difficult to meet the needs of his or her loved one without additional help. Eventually, care becomes so burdensome that placement in a nursing home may become necessary.
A study of spouse caregivers of patients with AD showed the value of caregiver support. Nursing home admissions were delayed in those spouses receiving counseling, encouragement of weekly support group participation, and the availability of telephone counseling at any time.
Lifestyle changes that can help you function as the disease progresses fall into two categories:

Planning Future Caregiving and Treatment

Day-to-Day Care
A study found that cognitive function and brain efficiency may be improved by simple lifestyle changes such as:
Researchers hypothesize that such improvements may delay the onset of Alzheimers disease and perhaps even lower the risk of developing the disease. Talk to your doctor about how you can incorporate these changes into your routine.
As the disease progresses, though, your moods, capabilities, and behavior will change. That is why it is important for you to make arrangements for daily care, learn how to adapt your home environment for safety, and research available community services. These steps, when done early, will help make the transition smoother for you and your caregiver
Healthcare Providers and Facilities
Although healthcare facilities may not be needed immediately, it is important to research your options. This way, you or your caregiver can find a place that matches your philosophy of care, location, and financial capacity.

Managing Alzheimers Symptoms and Behavior

Use Memory Aids
Memory aids may be very useful in the early stages of Alzheimers disease and may allow a person with Alzheimers disease to remain independent longer. Some examples include:
  • Writing out a list of the day’s activities
  • Posting instructions on how to do simple tasks, such as using the telephone
  • Writing out important phone numbers, and keeping them in one or more familiar places
  • Writing out the address and directions to the home and keeping them in a wallet at all times

When to Contact Your Doctor

You or your caregiver should notify your doctor of any major changes or deterioration of behavior or symptoms. Let your doctor know of any adverse effects of medications.


Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at:

American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Available at:

12/5/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Mittelman MS, Haley WE, et al. Improving caregiver well-being delays nursing home placement of patients with Alzheimer disease. Neurology. 2006;67:1592-1599.


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