Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

St. George, UT


Brown Bag Lunch - Alzheimer's - Resources and Coping Strategies

On Wednesday, October 16th, Anita Stiens of the Alzheimer’s Association of St George built on her presentation from the September Brown Bag Lunch when she spoke about “When Memory Changes Affect Your Life – Resources & Coping Strategies.”

She emphasized that we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about Alzheimer’s as it is like any other condition. Early diagnosis is the only way to get early treatment for any diagnosis. It could be a life‐threatening situation with similar symptoms such as hydrocephalus (which can be corrected) or even a heart problem due to the brain not getting an adequate blood supply. It requires a battery of tests to make a diagnosis:

Diagnosis steps

  • History from the patient, family or close friends
  • Physical exam including blood work for Thyroid, Vitamin D, B‐12 and mental status test.
  • Marital status
  • Neurological exam
  • Brain scans such as CT, MRI and Pet scans.

Some of the other forms of Dementia

  • Vascular dementia‐ such as small strokes
  • Fronto-temporal dementia‐ occurs at a younger age
  • Mixed dementia
  • Lewy body – mimics Parkinson’s disease – more common in men

Treatment

  • See your primary physician who may refer you to a Neurologist such as our new Neurosciences
  • Institute at Dixie Regional, the Snow Canyon Clinic or Dr. Taj Becker
  • Explore treatments to provide relief of symptoms
  • Early treatment may help individuals remain independent longer
  • There may be opportunities to participate in clinical trials

Medications

  • Some FDA approved medications include cholinesterase inhibitors such as Aricept, Razadyne and Exelon which may give temporary improvement
  • Other medications can help with mood and behavior

Plan for a Future of Diminishing Capabilities

  • Seek legal advice and services
  • Identify and complete legal documents
  • Make plan for medical treatment and decision
  • Make plan for Finances and property
  • Name a person to handle decisions

Use the Alzheimer’s Association

  • Call 1‐800‐272‐3900 or use web site alz.org
  • Use their care consultant
  • Use their support groups and education classes
  • Look at their safety services such as medi‐alert to locate wandering patients