Recognizing the Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease in Long-Term Care

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Recognizing Alzheimer's disease, particularly in its early stages, is challenging for physicians and staff of long-term care facilities. This article briefly reviews who is at risk and the natural history of the disease, and describes signs and symptoms to be aware of in residents of these facilities. Benefits of early recognition include instituting an individualized care plan that strives to preserve cognition and function and minimize behavioral changes through appropriate use of both drug and nondrug treatments. This, in turn, should lead to a better quality of life for the resident and decreased dependence and stress on staff and caregivers.

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