The Oscar-nominated movie Away from Her portrays a long-married
couple struggling with Alzheimer's disease and the emotional toll it causes when
the wife, played by actress Julie Christie, gives her affection to another man
whom she meets in a nursing home.
This heart-wrenching and emotional dramatization of Alzheimer's brings home
the difficulties families face when a person's ability to recognize and
maintain relationships gradually declines -- especially when the relationship
Ginkgo biloba. Many people take ginkgo biloba to improve or preserve memory. But studies have not shown that ginkgo biloba helps improve memory or prevent dementia.12 Ginkgo biloba is widely used in Europe to treat age-related dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
Aromatherapy. Researchers are studying the use of aromatherapy oils, such as lavender, rosemary, and lemon, to reduce significant agitation in people who have dementia.13 But more research is needed to prove its
Light therapy. This
treatment is often used to relieve depression. It may help reduce depression,
agitation, and sleeplessness associated with Alzheimer's disease. The person is
exposed to either natural light or artificial light for several hours every
morning or at night to reduce depression.
exercise, such as walking or swimming, can also relieve symptoms of depression
associated with Alzheimer's disease. Exercise is most effective when it is
combined with teaching caregivers how to work through behavioral problems with
the person who has Alzheimer's disease.
Another way a caregiver can try to reduce agitation is to
play soothing music for the person who has Alzheimer's disease, during meals
and when the caregiver is helping with bathing.
What to Think About
As with other new drugs in
development, other treatments for Alzheimer's disease such as ginkgo biloba
need further study. Their effectiveness and possible side effects are not yet
fully known. Talk to your doctor before you decide to try any
herbal therapies, supplements, or nonprescription