MIND in memory care
Moving In Nurturing Directions in Memory Care

Cindy's Blog


Far too often, those family docs who many elders have been seeing for years just can't keep up with advances in medicine. This can mean that your parent or spouse does not get a "dementia work-up" when signs and symptoms are clearly present, nor does that elder get the medication that could help slow down the progression of their dementia. The American Geriatrics Society has recently made available their newest tool to help clinicians not only diagnose, but treat dementia and the psychosis and behavioral problems that can accompany it. It is titled Guide to the Management of Psychotic Disorder and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia in Older Adults, and can be viewed on their website at www.americangeriatrics.org. A smartphone version of this valuable tool, called GeriPsych Consult will be available soon. Dementia is not the only subject covered in this Guide. Bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia are all included along with the behavioral symptoms that are often associated with different types of dementia, including Alzheimer's.

I especially like the way the AGS has put much of this information into Tables for easy comparison. For example, seven antipsychotics are listed in a Table which shows side effects (and they ALL have multiple side effects) that makes it easy to see which drugs should not be given to a diabetic, or someone with a seizure disorder.

I was especially happy to see the AGS has suggested under "Agitation or Aggression" to "Always consider nonpharmacologic strategies first..." and they go on to list a number of things that will always made the person with dementia escalate in their agitation. The AGS also makes note of the Black Box warnings on these drugs and how they are being used "off label" in people with dementia, and they go so far as to include a "summary of studies regarding excess mortality associated with antipsychotic medication use in patients with dementia." This is critical information for all healthcare providers to have access to, and now it's at your fingertips also! Thanks AGS!

Alzheimer's and Dementia Counseling and Education
call Cindy Keith of M.I.N.D. in Memory Care