One of the most common symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s is agitation. Agitation is not only a major stress for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s, it also increases the stress of their caregiver. A recent paper in the journal International Psychogeriatrics finds that too often the first-line approach to managing agitation in people with Alzheimer’s is medication, primarily psychiatric medications.
The study found that nonpharmacological methods are preferable, and should be prioritized before prescribing medication. The study espouses the benefits of “person-centered care,” which manages agitation —
as well as other common behavioral symptoms such as aggression — by examining and changing the physical and social contexts in which these behaviors occur.
The study recommends working closely with caregivers — for the sake of education, behavior management, and support — in order to adapt the environment to suit the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s.
Among the best strategies is the use of music therapy. Research shows that music therapy is an effective component of behavioral management, and can help eliminate the need for medication.
The study’s authors emphasize that many of the medications commonly prescribed to manage psychosis and agitation in people with dementia can themselves cause harm, including a significant increase in risk of stroke or death.
The ability to manage, and possibly eliminate, distressing behaviors without resorting to medication goes a long way to improving the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s, as well as those who care for them.
We at Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, have created a unique environment and care program that is specifically designed to address the medical, social, and recreational needs of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders — an environment and care program that maximizes patients’ dignity and quality of life through a structured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, and excellent social interaction. We provide a calm, soothing, and safe atmosphere; nutritious meals that assure proper food intake and hydration; and only the most appropriate behavior management.
Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. The wide corridors are homelike and easy to navigate, promoting a sense of familiarity and security.
The Alzheimer’s unit caregivers are specially trained to care for memory impaired residents. With their extra sensitivity and understanding of the condition and its impact, our caregivers treat each resident with dignity and love.
A specialized care program helps memory-impaired patients maximize their cognitive function. The activities program is also specifically designed to enhance sociability and enjoyment of life.
For patients in more advanced stages, the Alzheimer’s Unit offers innovative sensory therapies, including audiovisual stimuli, artful pastoral scenes, as well as aromatherapy, promoting a sense of calm.
The Alzheimer’s Unit features a bright and cheerful solarium where residents love to relax and enjoy the sun. The solarium opens to a beautifully landscaped enclosed courtyard where residents relish the fresh air and lovely outdoor surroundings.
The Hamilton Grove Alzheimer’s Unit provides people with Alzheimer’s with unparalleled care, and their family members with peace of mind.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.