Caring For Loved Ones With Alzheimer's Dementia
For Emmy-award winning actor Hector Elizondo, the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's dementia are very personal. In the 1960s, Elizondo's mother was afflicted with Alzheimer's dementia, a degenerative disease that alters the brain, causing impaired thinking, memory, and attention.
For Elizondo's father, the primary caregiver, taking care of his wife was a 24/7 commitment. Although the family was willing to do whatever it took to care for Hector's mother, the demands coupled with unpredictable days were physically exhausting. Back then, there weren't any treatment options to help with the worsening of Elizondo's mother's symptoms. The lack of caregiver support resources brought emotional chaos and physical exhaustion to Elizondo's father, and his health eventually declined.
"While my family had nowhere to turn, it is important for today's caregivers to recognize that they now have access to medical treatments, educational information and resources that can help," said Elizondo. "I encourage caregivers to visit CaringForAlz.com , an online resource from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, for information that can provide answers to common caregiver challenges. The resources may also offer stability to those caring for loved ones with mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia, and put them in touch with a community of caregivers, so they know they are not alone."
Today, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, many of whom are in the mild to moderate stages of the disease. Additionally, nearly 10 million Americans provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia. As the disease can present unpredictable challenges on a daily -- or even hourly -- basis, caring for a person with Alzheimer's dementia is often very difficult. However, while medical treatment options did not exist in the 1960s, recent advances may help today's patients.
"Fortunately today, patients have access to the latest medical treatments, such as the ExelonPatch (rivastigmine transdermal system), which is the first and only skin patch for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia," said Dr. Gus Alva, director of ATP Clinical Research in Costa Mesa, Calif. "By providing continuous delivery of rivastigmine over 24 hours, Exelon Patch represents a different treatment option for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia."