Treatment of Dementia

Treatment of dementia begins with the treatment of the underlying disease, where possible. The underlying causes of nutritional, hormonal, tumour-caused or drug-related dementia may be reversible to some extent. For many other diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), no cure has yet been discovered. However, improvement of cognitive and behavioural symptoms can be achieved through a combination of appropriate medications and other treatments, including psychotherapy.

There are also a number of therapies and practical measures that can help make everyday living easier for someone with dementia.

These include:

•occupational therapy to identify problem areas in everyday life, such as getting dressed, and help with working out practical solutions

•speech and language therapy to help improve any communication problems

•physiotherapy to help with movement difficulties

•psychological therapies, such as cognitive stimulation (activities and exercises designed to improve memory, problem-solving skills and language ability)

•relaxation techniques, such as massage and music or dance therapy

•social interaction, leisure activities and other dementia activities, such as memory cafes (drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice)

•home modifications, such as removing loose carpets and potential trip hazards, ensuring the home is well lit, and adding grab bars and handrails

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