Forgetfulness: It's Not Always What You Think
Many people with dementia need no medication for behavioral problems. But
for some people, doctors may prescribe medications to reduce agitation,
anxiety, depression, or sleeping problems. These troublesome behaviors are
common in people with dementia. Careful use of doctor prescribed drugs may make
some people with dementia more comfortable and make caring for them easier.
A healthy diet is important. Although no special diets or nutritional
supplements have been found to prevent or reverse Alzheimer's disease or multi
infarct dementia, a balanced diet helps maintain overall good health. In cases
of multi infarct dementia, improving the diet may play a role in preventing
Family members and friends can assist people with dementia in continuing
their daily routines, physical activities, and social contacts. People with
dementia should be kept up-to-date about the details of their lives, such as
the time of day, where they live, and what is happening at home or in the
world. Memory aids may help in the day to day living of patients in the earlier
stages of dementia. Some families find that a big calendar, a list of daily
plans, notes about simple safety measures, and written directions describing
how to use common household items are very useful aids.
Advice for Today
Scientists are working to develop new drugs that someday may slow, reverse,
or prevent the damage caused by Alzheimer's disease and multi infarct dementia.
In the meantime, people who have no dementia symptoms can try to keep their
Some suggestions include developing interests or hobbies and staying
involved in activities that stimulate both the mind and body. Giving careful
attention to physical fitness and exercise also may go a long way toward
keeping a healthy state of mind. Limiting the use of alcoholic beverages is
important, because heavy drinking over time can cause permanent brain
Many people find it useful to plan tasks; make "things to do" lists;
and use notes, calendars, and other memory aids. They also may remember things
better by mentally connecting them to other meaningful things, such as a
familiar name, song, or lines from a poem.