How can I help a loved one cope with Alzheimer's disease?

While a doctor has probably prescribed several medications to help with the depression, sleeping problems and anxiety that often accompany Alzheimer's disease, there are other strategies you can use to help your loved one cope with these issues. For instance, any kind of exercise, be it walking, swimming or even tai chi, is fun, stimulating and can help improve sleep.

Additionally, most people with Alzheimer's disease, particularly in the earlier stages, prefer to do useful and purposeful activities rather than be entertained, but they need cueing and guidance to stay on task. So try involving them in some modified housework or volunteer work (folding laundry, dusting or stuffing envelopes).

Failure-free social events with other Alzheimer's disease families are also a great idea—picnics or cultural events where no one has to remember names and where there is a greater tolerance for unusual behavior. Also, music seems to be universally appealing—many people can remember lyrics or how to play instruments that they learned as children.

It's also very important that you register your loved one with the Alzheimer's Association's Safe Return program, a national program that helps locate lost and wandering people before they get hurt. Visit:

Alzheimer's disease is progressive, and the help a loved one needs to cope will always be changing. It is important to remember that the person does not have control over the decline and that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's requires patience. To help, you can do such things as maintaining a predictable schedule, providing reminders of things the person needs to do, watching for frustration or anxiety and assisting when needed.

Continue Learning about Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis & Tests

what do i do with the results of my sage test for Alzheimer prevention ?
Richard Isaacson, MDRichard Isaacson, MD
Once you've taken the SAGE Test at home, you bring it to your physician for review. Watch neurologis...
More Answers
how is Alzheimer disease diagnosed ?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Alzheimer's disease can only be diagnosed with complete certainty after death using an autopsy. Howe...
More Answers
how should i tell a loved one that he or she has Alzheimer disease ?
Alzheimer's Foundation of AmericaAlzheimer's Foundation of America
Here are some suggestions for how to discuss the disease with the person who's been diagnosed: B...
More Answers
what do you know about dementia and Alzheimer disease that you Did not know before ?
what do you know about dementia and Alzheimer disease that you Did not know before ?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.