Later, they may not be able to take care of themselves. They may not know their
loved ones when they see them. They may forget how to eat, dress, bathe, use
the toilet, or get up from a bed or a chair and walk.
How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed?
To check for
the disease, your doctor will ask about your past health and do a physical
exam. He or she may ask you to do some simple things that test your memory and
other mental skills. Your doctor may also check how well you can do daily
The exam usually includes blood tests to look for another
cause of your problems. You may have tests such as
MRI scans, which look at your brain. By themselves,
these tests can't show for sure whether you have Alzheimer's.
How is it treated?
There is no cure for
Alzheimer's disease, but there are medicines that may slow symptoms down for a while
and make the disease easier to live with. Drugs that may be prescribed include donepezil (Aricept) and memantine (Namenda). These medicines may not work for everyone or have a big
effect. But most experts think they are worth a try.
disease gets worse, the person may get
depressed or angry and upset. The doctor may also
prescribe medicines to help with these problems.
How can you help your loved one with Alzheimer's disease?
If you are or will be taking care of a loved one with
Alzheimer’s, start learning what you can expect. This can help you make the
most of the person's abilities as they change. And it can help you deal with
new problems as they arise.
Work with your loved one to make
decisions about the future before the disease gets worse. It is important to
living will and a
durable power of attorney. A living will states the
types of medical care your loved one wants. A durable power of attorney lets
your loved one pick someone to be his or her
health care agent. This person makes care decisions
when your loved one cannot.
Your loved one will need more and
more care as the disease gets worse. In time, he or she may need help to eat,
get dressed, or use the bathroom. You may be able to give this care at home, or
you may want to think about using a nursing home. A nursing home can give this
kind of care 24 hours a day. The time may come when a nursing home is the best
Because people are living longer than they used to,
Alzheimer's disease is becoming a more common problem. Ask your doctor about
local resources such as support groups or other groups that can help as you
care for your loved one. You can also search the Internet for online support
groups. Help is available.
Frequently Asked Questions