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Alzheimer’s and Medication Management

By Jonathan Wells, 8:00 am on

Prescription medications can be extremely helpful for managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, without proper medication management, prescriptions can threaten the safety of a senior with Alzheimer’s. As a caregiver for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to become familiar with his or her medications, as well as any possible side effects, to promote safety and quality of life. Today, our Douglas County senior care experts offer some tips about medication management for seniors with Alzheimer’s.

Types of Alzheimer’s Medications

Mild to moderate Alzheimer’s is typically treated with cholinesterase inhibitors, which help slow the progress of cognitive decline and memory loss, and can also control some behavioral symptoms. Common cholinesterase inhibitors include

  • Razadyne® (galantamine)
  • Exelon® (rivastigmine)
  • Aricept® (donepezil)

Patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s are usually prescribed Namenda® (memantine), an N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, which also helps slow the progression of the disease. Another common drug for more severe Alzheimer’s is called Aricept.

Side Effects to Watch For

The most common side effects of the medications listed above are gastrointestinal, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and loss of appetite. In addition to these side effects, which are common for all the drugs listed, Namenda may cause confusion; and Exelon may cause muscle weakness.

Side effects for Alzheimer’s drugs are relatively minor, and most adults tolerate the above prescriptions well. If you notice that your loved one is experiencing any of the above issues, it’s important to contact his or her physician immediately.

Managing Medications

Drug safety is critical for all seniors, but especially for seniors with Alzheimer’s. It may be necessary for you to manage your loved one’s medication, particularly if he or she has a more advanced form of the disease. Talk to your loved one’s doctor to become as familiar with his or her drugs and possible side effects. You may also want to invest in a pill dispenser to help you organize pills on a weekly or monthly basis.

If you are unable to assist your loved one on a regular basis, consider a professional and trained hourly caregiver in Douglas County to help fill in the gaps and provide medication reminders, assistance with daily tasks and personal care, and transportation for medical appointments and errands.

Additional Help with Care

If you are caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s and feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, know that you are not alone. As the disease progresses, care needs often become more complex, and emotional stresses can also become more intense. Home Care Assistance of Douglas County is here to help. We offer specialty Alzheimer’s and memory care that is tailored to the individual needs of each client and flexible hourly and live-in schedules. Our professional and compassionate Douglas County Alzheimer’s caregivers are also highly trained, licensed, insured and bonded.

For more information about Alzheimer’s home care in Douglas County, reach out to a friendly Care Manager today at 720-441-3522 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.