Mild Alzheimer’s disease: during this stage the patient suffers memory loss affecting recall of recent events, which may interfere with the patient’s day to day activities. At this stage, the patient may present poor judgement in complicated situations. Moderate Alzheimer’s disease: memory loss is more marked, and the patient may probably remember only significant events or facts. Sleep problems including insomnia and multiple awakenings are common. Severe Alzheimer’s disease: this is when apraxia and agnosia manifest themselves. A patient may not recognize an object upon visual a presentation, despite the fact that he or she may describe its shape and characteristics.
Several approaches are used in the attempt to train patients with Alzheimer’s disease to overcome their shortfalls. These methods make use of different forms of intense training, conditioning, or stimulation to assist patients use their remaining cognitive skills more efficiently. The main aim of these techniques is to help Alzheimer patients learn new skills and behaviours and relearn lost skills.
A careful behavioural assessment of the patient is undertaken to identify specific behavioural problems. The problems may include the tendency to engage in socially unacceptable behaviours (striking out, screaming or talking about delusions), and failure to eat, dress or correctly use washroom facilities. Once specific behaviours are targeted, a reward strategy is devised that increases the likelihood that the desirable behaviour will increase in frequency, thus replacing an undesirable one.
This method involves intensive attempts by therapists to orient an Alzheimer patient to his or her environment. This program may use many techniques to orient the Alzheimer patient vigorously to specific time, specific place and situation. Prominent signs and calendars, intensive one-on-one contact call and classes are used to communicate. As a patient masters the basic data, precise instruction on more advanced topics can be added. This method appears to increase patient’s sense of well-being. The technique may be worth using in situations where family or caregivers need a structured approach to increase their interaction with an Alzheimer patient.