Complementary and alternative therapy Alzheimer's covers a wide range of therapies, including options like music therapy, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, symptoms can often be reduced using one or more therapies designed to improve a patient’s quality of life. Some of these therapies include:
Art therapy is a powerful tool that can stir up memories and promote creativity. Drawing, painting, and other forms of art therapy can help patients with Alzheimer’s disease better express themselves, which can be highly beneficial when a person’s ability to effectively communicate begins to deteriorate.
Music therapy can help sooth agitated patients with Alzheimer’s, spark memories, and improve eating in some instances. When playing music, opt for easy listening songs that can help reduce anxiety. Popular songs from the person’s youth are great choices.
Reminiscence therapy involves targeting memories that reside in variable regions of the patient’s brain. This type of therapy typically consists of discussing and sharing memories, reviewing these memories, and trying to recapture associated emotions.
Essential oils like lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and lemon balm have been found beneficial in treating individuals with anxiety, insomnia, and memory problems. During aromatherapy, essential oils can be inhaled or used topically on the skin.
Light therapy is designed to increase circadian stimulation during the day to significantly increase sleep quality at night. During light therapy, the Alzheimer’s patient is exposed to a bluish-white light source during the day for a several week period.
While doll therapy remains a controversial intervention, it has been proven to provide many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease with a purposeful activity and sensory stimulation. Dolls can promote positive changes in behavior and reduce agitation and aggression in some dementia patients.
Diet and Supplements
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease require a well-balanced diet to properly fuel their bodies. Dietary supplements may also be needed to fill any nutritional gaps. Seniors with dementia should avoid certain foods, such as those high in trans-fat and saturated fat, as these can cause inflammation and produce free radicals.
Maintaining an active lifestyle can have a significant impact on patients with Alzheimer’s during all stages of the condition. Exercise can provide numerous benefits, ranging from improved cognition and sleep to increased mood and self-esteem.
Acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other alternative forms of Alzheimer’s therapy have been found successful in treating symptoms of the disease. Natural herbs such as ginko biloba and turmeric have direct effects on memory, cognition, and brain function.
There has been a growing number of alternative therapies available for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. While not all are effective at treating symptoms in all patients, many caregivers find that the use of one or more therapies promotes better well-being.