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Alzheimer’s: Non-drug Interventions to Improve Quality of Life

It is not easy to take care of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Quality of life for both patients and caregivers usually deteriorate as the disease progresses. This issue also has an economic side: the care provided by family members is valued at nearly $144 billion. What would happen if caregivers could not carry on anymore? As this article from the Huffington post reminds us, there is no pill to help families stay together longer, and have happier lives. However there are a growing number of non-pharmacologic interventions that could achieve this.

Improving quality of life for individuals with dementia and their families is a fundamental treatment goal, but consistently receives far less attention and funding than drug research.

There are a growing number of such non-pharmacologic interventions […] These programs meet the gold standard for both drug and non-drug treatments: they have been proven effective in randomized controlled trials. And, unlike drug therapy, there are no adverse side effects.

We must recognize the importance of counseling, skills training, and home environmental interventions, increase support for further research, and help families connect with existing proven programs

Comment: Did you know about these non-pharmacologic interventions? According to the authors of the article, “most families coping with Alzheimer’s or other dementia never hear about” these. This reminds me of the “cognitive shop, a sort of one-stop shop­ping for every­thing from Alzheimer’s dis­ease pre­ven­tion to guided care for mild or mod­er­ate dis­ease” proposed Kosik and Clegg. Seems like a great idea: Information is key in dealing with Alzheimer’s.

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