Holistic Approach with Early Stage Alzheimer's Intervention

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 1:45 PM

Nancy Blume, PhD, RN, BC, ARNP-CNS
Graduate Nursing Studies, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX

Learning Objective 1: describe health promoting activities to maintatin cognitive functioning intervention in Early Alzheimer's disease.

Learning Objective 2: describe an Early Alzheimer's intervention strategy

Research about intervention in early Alzheimer's disease has revealed that maintaining cognitive function can be supported and maintained for longer periods when a holistic approach of mind body spirit centered care is implemented. Alzheimer's disease will affect more than 4 million persons in this decade and continue to devastate the mental capacity of a growing number of older Americans. Purpose: of the current study was to determine if a baseline cognitive functioning level can be maintained over time using a holistic intervention approach. Methods: seven early Alzheimer's diagnosed persons and their caregivers were participants in a series of six intervention strategies over a three month period. Cognitive functioning was assessed for the persons with Alzheimer's at the beginning and ending of the series to determine if functioning was maintained. The series of interventions was repeated after a 3 month time in a time-series design. Caregivers were trained in communication methods similar to validation therapy and relaxation methods while their early diagnosed family member or friend worked at a cognitive/memory strategy. Results: the Dyads interacted using the strategies taught and the level of functioning apparent. Cognitive or thinking ability was maintained over the first three month period, diminished the second three months and rose again with the next set of interventions. Conclusion: intervention strategies that promote cognitive functioning may help Early Alzheimer's persons to maintain some functioning.