Life and Style

College 101: Holistic Approaches to Alzheimer's

Every year the number of people who have Alzheimer’s rises, especially for people over the age of 65 years and in women. This disease affects the brain, causing memory loss and deterioration of the brain’s tissues. Alzheimer’s is more than misplacing a favorite pair of gloves or losing the car keys. An Alzheimer's diagnosis can be unnerving for everyone involved. 

Many family members give up their lives to become full-time caregivers to parents or relatives with this progressive disease. A caregiver’s health may become jeopardized due to the constant attention needed which can also place great strain on a relationship. Taking some time as a patient and provider to unwind and relax may help relieve anxiety and increase mental health and awareness. Here are some ways holistic methods may work well with your current Alzheimer’s program. 

Holistic approaches are natural ways to help boost connect with your mind and body. Some ways to do so that benefit people are meditation, yoga, and taking natural medicines in conjunction with traditional methods. For example, some diseases or conditions such as  Alzheimer’s is progressive and there currently are no cures. However, CBD products may help in a few different ways to alleviate the physical and mental changes caused by this disease. CBD has been shown to reduce pain, inflammation, and lessen muscular tremors. 

After discussing any contraindications with other medications, utilizing CBD may help slow down deterioration. It has anti-inflammatory and cell-regenerating properties which may prove helpful for a few reasons. For example, the attack on brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s disease may be slowed by the cannabidiol, the non-psychotropic property in CBD. It can also reduce nausea caused by some traditional medications, increase mental clarity, and lower anxiety. There are a variety of ways to consume CBD, such as in the form of tablets, CBD oil vape, or tinctures. 

Coping with an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be mentally and physically taxing for everyone involved. For a caregiver (especially when related to the patient), responding to all types of situations around the clock can create a strain on their mental health. Take time out to recharge by joining a meditation class or finding an app to take along with you to help calm your anxiety anywhere. A few minutes of gentle yoga, music, or white noise can help center you and bring your blood pressure and heart rate down. 

Playing music during your time with your loved one with Alzheimer’s can benefit both of you too. There might be a particular song a patient listened to in their youth that they enjoyed. Listening to familiar tunes can soothe and reduce stress and might trigger some memories from the past. For those with Alzheimer’s, this can bring back a piece of their life which may have begun to slip away. Caregivers can record any memory activated down in a journal to read back to the patient or for other family members to share in. 

Another holistic and natural way for Alzheimer’s patients to find some benefit is with the ancient practice of acupuncture. By using thin needles on the surface of the skin, acupuncture is believed to pinpoint specific parts of the body to, for example, reduce pain, some sleep disorders, inflammation, and mental health issues. Many believe this practice can stimulate particular ailments and even diseases of the body. For example, in Alzheimer's patients dealing with moderate symptoms, it may help daily mental functions and improvement with cognitive clarity. 

For patients, family members, and caregivers, Alzheimer’s is a life-altering experience. However, finding something beneficial to relieve stress is crucial for mental health. Trying new natural and holistic activities and treatments may lead you to one that helps immensely. Together, you can discover what works best to alleviate or temporarily stimulate mental clarity in a positive direction. In conjunction with a team of doctors and specialists, a program can be created to gain a healthy daily balance between traditional and holistic practices.

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