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Some cases of dementia are caused by medical conditions that can be treated, and treatment can restore some or all mental function. But most of the time, dementia cannot be reversed.
Treatment when dementia can be reversed
Sometimes treating the cause of dementia helps the dementia. For example, the person might:
Treatment when dementia can't be reversed
If the cause of dementia cannot be treated, the doctor will work with the person and caregivers to develop a plan to make life easier and more comfortable. Care plans may include:
Planning for the future
If possible, make decisions while your loved one is able to take part in the decision making. These are difficult but important conversations. Questions include:
Education of the family and other caregivers is critical to successfully caring for someone who has dementia. If you are or will be a caregiver, start learning what you can expect and what you can do to manage problems as they arise. For more information, see Home Treatment.
Treatment as dementia gets worse
The goal of ongoing treatment for dementia is to keep the person safely at home for as long as possible and to provide support and guidance to the caregivers.
Routine follow-up visits to a health professional (every 3 to 6 months) are necessary to monitor medicines and the person's level of functioning.
Eventually, the family may have to consider whether to place the person in a care facility that has a dementia unit. For more information on making the decision about nursing care, see:
Taking care of a person with dementia is stressful. If you are a caregiver, seek support from family members or friends. Take care of your own health by getting breaks from caregiving. Counseling, a support group, and adult day care or respite care can help you through stressful times and bouts of burnout.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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