The majority of patients diagnosed with dementia live at home and are cared for by a Family member. It follows logically that, if the patient is showing improvements, life for family members and other caregivers will also improve (Grossberg, 2008). If patients with mild memory loss can do their own shopping and pay their own bills, then no one has to spend time helping them with these chores. And, of course, if activities of daily living are improved, families and other caregivers will have more time for their own activities. One study found that treatment was associated with a saving of 68 minutes per day on average for caregivers (Sano et al., 2003).


Current pharmacological treatments for memory loss cost money, between $1500 and $2000 per year for each medication. Are the beneficial effects for patients and caregivers worth the costs? Although certain aspects of this question cannot be readily answered, an easier question to answer is whether the dollars spent on medications to treat memory loss and to improve quality of life end up saving money. This issue has been studied and the results are clear: treatment of memory loss does save money (Getsios et al., 2001; Moore et al., 2001;Wimo et al., 2003a,b). When patients are treated for their memory loss, fewer medications to control behavior need be prescribed. There is less use of home health aids. Caregivers have more time to spend in the workplace bringing in revenue to the household. And placement in nursing homes can be delayed (Lyseng-Williamson & Plosker, 2002; Geldmacher et al., 2003).


Planning for the future is absolutely essential for any patient with progressive memory loss. Documents such as a power of attorney and healthcare proxy will need to be drawn up and signed. Banking, bill paying, and driving need to be addressed. The physical environment within the home will often need changes.


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