A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia impacts your entire family. While there is no cure for dementia, in the Sutter Health network, we may recommend a number of treatments and rehabilitation services that can sometimes help to maintain or improve a person’s mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and make day-to-day living a bit easier. Our teams of healthcare professionals from a wide range of specialties work together to provide you and your family the best care possible.
Medication is one of the strategies that may be helpful for slowing the rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The only medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of dementia include:
* Cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon). These medications help slow symptoms of the disease. Memantine (Namenda) may be prescribed for advanced dementia.
Other medications can help manage symptoms that often occur with dementia, such as confusion, agitation, anxiety, depression, mood swings, aggression, and sleep problems.
We often recommend a number of therapeutic interventions that can help some people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia keep functioning well and live as independently as possible.
- Occupational therapy can help a person maintain the ability to do practical daily activities, such as eating and dressing. An occupational therapist might also advise on how to adapt your home to make it safe for a person with dementia, such as installing grab bars, using bath chairs and adaptive eating utensils, and other modifications.
- Physical therapy helps a person to maintain or regain muscle tone, flexibility, strength, balance and mobility, which can improve their ability to carry out tasks such as walking up stairs or getting out of bed. It can also help to decrease a person’s risk of falling.
- Speech therapy can help a person to maintain or improve their ability to communicate, as well as help with eating, drinking, and swallowing issues.
Several special programs focus on the health of seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We also offer Alzheimer’s and dementia-related classes and support groups.
- Advanced Illness Management program — AIM staff members help patients and their families to manage advanced illness, including medication management, symptom relief, care coordination, and planning for the future.
- Sutter Care at Home — This program allows seniors to receive healthcare in the comfort of their own homes, including rehabilitation therapy, hospice services, and more.