Sunday, December 07, 2008

Alzheimer's Reading Room: Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer's and Dementia

These guidelines were developed for physicians and teachers. However, if you look through the list you will see that these guidelines are useful for caregivers. This is especially true for caregivers that are new and overwhelmed by the diagnosis.

If you know a caregiver you should consider forwarding this list of guidelines. I find that I need to refer to my own lists often. As a caregiver we tend to focus on the right now and today. However, unless all contingencies are considered enormous problems could present themselves down the road.
People with mild to moderate dementia (and Alzheimer's) are usually cared for by the family personal care physician and the patient's family. The personal care physician is often very busy and is not a specialist in the area. The family is often ill equipped to take on this task due to lack of formal training, education, and experience. Family caregivers and the primary caregiver usually take a learn as you go approach. A team of physicians, teachers, and researchers have created a set of guidelines for personal care physicians on how to manage dementia once a diagnosis is made. This article should be read by physicians but I found it very helpful as a caregiver. From the caregiver perspective it will help you understand the services you need and help you interact with your family physician to assure that appropriate actions are being taken and treatments rendered.

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