Delay those people in early stage Alzheimer's from progressing to mid stage

The idea: Mike makes the case for the economies of scale and other benefits of developing programs to delay those in early stage from progressing into mid stage.

My name is Mike Donohue. I am just short of 75 years old, having been diagnosed five years ago. I have atypical AD. It is A-Typical because it is somewhat different than the norm. My memory is more intact than many, my cognition remains good as does my ability to read and write. Other limitations of the Alzheimer’s kind I do have. These keep me from driving, biking, handling money and doing more than one thing at a time.

Organizing services and promoting programs designed for care desperately needs our attention. The “boomers” coming of that age where the incidence of onset escalates in number is coming quickly. It will overwhelm current capacity for care and exhaust private and public ability to pay for it.  

Concentration of a different kind of care can provide solution.

Particular emphasis should be given services concentrating on Early Stage Alzheimer’s Afflicted. They remain sufficiently cognitive and articulate; they are able to help themselves stay in place in Early Stage. Kept in place they will neither contribute numerically nor in cost to the deluge of need that will arise from the added people needing care for middle and late stage Alzheimer’s.

Public policy can reap the value from concentration of services and enhancement of programs for Early Stage. Doing this will provide Cost of Care economy and give time for continuing research to find the cure. Time is as important a need for finding the cure as is funding for it.

We Need More Than Comforting Care.

Currently so much of the care is provided on a palliative basis. This is properly so, Palliative Care (no more than keeping the patient comfortable ) is designed to benefit the middle and late stage afflicted who are unable to help themselves and whose condition is not able to improve from care. 

This same approach for early stage afflicted defeats any benefit that might otherwise accrue for them. It doesn’t deal with them as they are; it invites them to become passive and unresponsive. This simply encourages them to slip into a more dependent and needy state.

In early stage the afflicted are best able to remain in place if provided for appropriately.

The longer a person remains in early stage the less the corresponding cost of care is needed for that person.

Positive creative activity facilitates the person in early stage to stay in early stage longer. Any care approach that stimulates and activates is more appropriate for this group. In this group although the process can’t be reversed it can be prolonged.

A Definitive Positive Result Can Be Obtained.

Why is this so? Many reasons, the most prominent:

a.  Early Stagers are more stimulated to exercise daily or more often weekly. It is a given, exercise is the best treatment and the best means of staving off the debilitation inherent in our disease process.

b. Social activity stimulates staying at an even cognitive plateau. Inactivity and isolation accelerates progressive decline. 

c. Creative activity enhances cognitive ability. The brain will find alternative pathways to compensate for mental loss. This is initiated by the stimulating activity. This prolongs cognition and acuity.

d. One study suggests the activity of socializing, advocating and dealing in network with peers about AD boosts the cognitive performance of those doing it. This is consistent with the personal anecdotal experience of those participating in such activity.

e. Current medications prolong the cognitive state and sometimes increase acuity in many of those in early stage.

The more the early stage can be prolonged for a person the greater economy of cost can be obtained in an otherwise foreboding deluge of epidemic-like escalation in cost.

Published on 27 September 2011
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