This website presents an overview of Alzheimer's disease (AD) for caregivers and family members. It provides definitions, warning signs and descriptions of the many physical and psychological changes that occur with this disease. Within this topic area, up-to-date information, facts and statistics, best practices, services, information for caregivers, and helpful links are provided.
Best practices for the management of Alzheimer's disease are described in four distinct categories assessment, treatment, individual and family education and support, and legal considerations. These recommendations presume an accurate diagnosis has already been made and the guidelines are directed to physicians, professionals, direct care staff, and caregivers providing support to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and families.
The mental and physical health assessment by the primary caregiver is considered a crucial piece of taking care of the individual with AD.
Organizations such as Alzheimer's Association, Family Caregiver Alliance, and the Department of Social Services have developed written materials and support groups that build on the best practices available in the treatment of AD. Most participants in early-stage support groups, both structured and less structured, report positive outcomes. Outcomes include an improved sense of control over their lives and feeling that they are not alone.
It is well established that AD caregivers often experience stress, anxiety, depression, mental health issues, and physical health issues as a result of the continuing and demanding nature of AD care. Studies are aimed at teaching caregivers how to read the emotional and physical cues of the person with AD and to understand the sequence of events that often leads to challenging behaviors.
California Workgroup on Guidelines for Alzheimer's Disease Management, April 2008. Supported by the California Department of Health Services and the Alzheimer's Association, Los Angeles. Federal Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Primary Health Care and the Administration on Aging, Contract No. 00-9131.
California Workgroup on Guidelines for Alzheimer 's Disease Management. Guidelines for Alzheimer's disease management. Chicago (IL): Alzheimer's Association; April, 2008. 61 p. [396 references].
Cummings, J.L. and Frank, Janet, C., et al (June 2002), Guidelines for Managing Alzheimer's Disease: Part 1 Assessment. American Family Physician.
Forgetfulness: It's not always what you think (PDF format)
This National Institute on Aging AgePage brochure is useful for providers, caregivers, and family members. It briefly covers diagnosis, treatment, “advice for today,” and community resources. This brochure is also available en español (PDF format).
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease (PDF format)
This Alzheimer's Association publication lists and describes the warning signs of AD and includes a table that explains the key differences between AD and memory changes with normal aging. This pamphlet is also available en español (PDF format).
10 Ways to Help a Family Living with Alzheimer's (PDF format)
Published by the Alzheimer's Association in 2006, this two sided handout gives ten simple ways to be supportive of families confronting AD.
Taking Care of Yourself: Managing Stress as a Caregiver (PDF format)
The Alzheimer's Association published this brochure in 2007. It offers 10 ways to be a healthy caregiver, 10 symptoms of caregiver stress with examples of theses symptoms, and a caregiver stress daily check-up. The brochure is readily available from the Alzheimer's Association and available en español.
Alzheimer's Disease Questions and Answers
Developed in 2003 by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the resource provides practical questions from caregivers and gives informed answers. Topics such as travel with an individual who has Alzheimer's Disease, nutrition, sundown syndrome, and sexuality are discussed.
Alzheimer's Disease and Down Syndrome
Published by the Alzheimer Society of Canada in 2008, this handout covers topics such as: the definition of Down Syndrome, the association of Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease, the difficulties of making a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease in a person with Down Syndrome and providing care to the person with this disease and Down Syndrome.
Basics of Alzheimer's Disease: What It Is and What You Can Do (PDF format)
Published by the Alzheimer's Association, this 30 page booklet is very comprehensive. It covers the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's Disease, stages of the disease, and hope for the future. This booklet is also available en español (PDF format).
Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery (PDF format)
This 80 page booklet is a publication of the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's Disease and Education and Research (ADEAR). The publication provides accurate and current information about the basics of the healthy brain, what happens to the brain in AD, cutting edge AD research and caregiver support for the general public and health professionals. This booklet is also available en español.
Caring for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide (PDF format)
A guidebook for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) offered by the National Institute on Aging is written in clear language to help caregivers understand and cope with the many challenges of caring for the person with AD.
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet (PDF format)
The National Institute on Aging publishes this 6 page fact sheet. Updated in December 2008, it includes an overview of the physiological changes in the brain, mild AD, moderate AD, severe AD, causes of AD, the basics of AD, genetics related to AD, lifestyle factors, diagnosis, treatment, support for families and caregivers and useful resources. This fact sheet is also available en español.
Dementia and Intellectual Disabilities (PDF format)
This 2 page fact sheet addresses key questions about dementia and intellectual disabilities (ID). The scope of ID and dementia, Down Syndrome and AD, making a diagnosis of dementia in people with intellectual disabilities, service needs of the individuals affected by dementia, and principles to guide the care decisions of people with ID and dementia are discussed.
Published by the National Institute on Aging, this caregiver guide covers tips for caregivers, caregiver support for dealing with the Alzheimer's diagnosis, activities of daily living, exercise, incontinence, sleep problems, safety, and community activities. This information is also available en español.
Communication: Best Ways to Interact with the Person with Dementia (PDF format)
The Alzheimer's Association publishes this pamphlet to help caregivers to communicate with individuals with dementia. Changes in communication, helping the person with dementia communicate, the best ways for caregivers to communicate, and communication with hearing and vision limitations are discussed.
Hispanics/Latinos and Alzheimer's Disease (PDF format)
This brochure is published by the Alzheimer's Association and addresses several cultural topics regarding the Hispanic/Latino community and Alzheimer's disease. Topics include the high risk of the disease and this community, available research, health care needs, the impact of the disease on the community, and ways to invest in a public policy agenda. This brochure is also available en español (PDF format).
African-Americans and Alzheimer's Disease
This brochure is published by the Alzheimer's Association and covers the impact of AD on African-Americans, vascular dementia, the heart-brain connection, how to be a healthy caregiver- staying strong, and many links to other relevant websites.
Caregiver Stress Check
This Caregiver Stress Check was developed by the Alzheimer's Association. Using an interactive web-based format, a caregiver answers eight questions and then is provided with resources including recent news, coping, related issues, tutorials, financial information, and journal articles in response to individual caregiver stress responses.
For questions or comments please contact us at TQM@dads.state.tx.us .
Updated: April 3, 2013