Various life style changes, such as diet and exercise, are also beneficial in treating Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Though no specific diet is recommended, proper nutrition is important to maintain good health, for medications to work properly, and to have energy. Exercise and staying active is also important for brain function. Being physically active helps blood flow in the brain and keeps neurons active and healthy. Exercise may also reduce symptoms of depression, which is common for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people with Alzheimer’s disease have symptoms of sundowner’s syndrome. In sundowners syndrome a person becomes agitated and anxious when the time of day or season changes. This can also cause problems with sleep, either sleeping too long or not sleeping enough. Depression, sundowners, and sleep problems could be a sign of under stimulation: the person with Alzheimer’s disease does not have enough to do. Planned activities, helping with chores and outings may improve these symptoms. Playing with a pet can help alleviate the symptoms of depression as well.
Memory and other cognitive problems make activities of daily living (such as cooking and cleaning) difficult. Reminders and providing a safe, stable environment may help decrease confusion and other problems.
Bowel and bladder problems are also a common issue: setting a regular schedule for going to the bathroom may help alleviate some of these problems.
Before making any major lifestyle changes, going on a diet, starting an exercise program, or taking vitamins or herbal supplements, please talk to your doctor. Your doctor will help you decide if these changes are right for you and will make sure they do not interfere with other treatment options or medications you are taking.
Additional resource that provide an overview of lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and exercise for Alzheimer’s disease:
- Complementary Medicine/Alternative Therapies (includes information on Lifestyle, Diet, and Exercise) (Alzheimer’s Society)
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Treatment (Penn State Hershey, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center)
- Healthy Numbers (Alzheimer’s Association)
Additional resource that provide more information on lifestyle for Alzheimer’s disease:
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Lifestyle and Home Remedies (Mayo Clinic)
- Home Safety for People with Alzheimer’s Disease (National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging)
- Treatments for Sleep Changes (Alzheimer’s Association)
- Activities (Alzheimer’s Association)
- Everyday Life with Alzheimer’s Disease (Alzheimer’s Disease Research)
Additional resource that provide more information on diet and nutrition for Alzheimer’s disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Nutritional Considerations (Nutrition MD)
- Nutrition for Alzheimer’s Disease (Cleveland Clinic)
- Eating (Alzheimer’s Association)
- Alzheimer’s: Making Mealtimes Easier (Mayo Clinic)
- Assisted Oral Feeding and Tube Feeding (Alzheimer’s Association)
Additional resource that provide more information on exercise for Alzheimer’s disease