“Treatment aims to help stabilise the patient so they can enjoy the best possible quality of life for as long as possible. The stabilising effects of treatment may also help the person’s social functioning, which can assist in reducing pressure on their support network.”
According to Westerman, the medication most commonly used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the leading cause of dementia, are choline-esterase inhibitors. “There are other medicines that may enhance memory, mood stabilizers, tranquillizers, and others that may be used in combination with choline-esterase inhibitors according to the symptoms and wellbeing of the patient. These medicines are only available with a valid prescription from a physician.
“When people with dementia are prescribed medication, they require support to ensure the correct dosage and proper handling of their medicine and families should decide who takes responsibility for handling the prescriptions on their behalf and facilitate their medicine and other pharmacy needs,” Westerman says.
“The patient’s carer will need to administer their medicine in the correct doses, as prescribed by their treating doctor. This becomes necessary for safety because the person may forget to take their medicine or may accidentally overdose by mistakenly taking their medicine multiple times in a day. To prevent accidents, medicine should always be kept securely.”
“In the more advanced stages of dementia, incontinence is relatively common and there are products that can help cope with it and avoid unnecessary discomfort,” Westerman says.