Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dementia Care:Tender loving care all that is needed?

 Recently I saw an article on the internet which basically disagreed with the use of medications for Alzheimer patients in nursing homes.  The author felt that all the money spent on these medications which he felt did little good should be put to better use in training the staff to interact more with the patient.  Below is the link to that article and my response which I have also included below the link.

Alzheimer's Reading Room: Dementia Care: Are Less Drugs and More Tender Loving Care the Answer?

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I can only speak to my personal experience with my mother, but in our case I have to disagree with the author.   My mother lives with us and we interact with her all the time, but still we have had episodes of extreme agitation which no amount of talking would have abated.  Putting my mother on Namenda (she was already on Galantamine) put an almost immediate end to her agitated behavior and the quiet lasted for over a year.  Last spring we again went through an episode of uncontrollable agitation and her doctor suggested Rispirdol which again worked beautifully without putting her in a "drugged out" state which I feared. Soon we are going to attempt to wean her off the Rispirdol since her behavior is stable.
Although his premise is good as I would never discourage personal interaction over the use of drugs I would have to say from my personal experience I would not have been able to keep my mother at home without the use of these medications.

Additional note:  Having worked in an Alzheimer unit I cannot imagine not having medication to help control some of the patients who because of this disease could not be calmed down.  I believe the there is a need for drugs and interaction.  I am in a one on one situation with my mother and still was unable to calm her at different times along this journey.  Not only did I benefit but she did as well because her mind was calmer which allowed for peace and happiness to enter.


  1. Kerry, I so agree with you. My mother is on the same medications. The second was added when her delusions made caring for her very difficult. Amazingly the medication took care of those delusions. I do agree that nursing home staff, for the most part, needs more training - I'm always looking for ways to connect with Ms. Chrissy. I love it when she laughs and we hold eye contact!

  2. Thanks Judy. Hearing from someone who going through similar circumstances is comforting. Hope things are relatively stable with your mom.Laughter can make all the difference between a good situation or bad.