Managing Alzheimer's and Warfarin

Publication Date:
Sun, 11/01/2015
By: Alere Staff

The human brain is one of our most precious organs. It lives and is protected by the strong and thick skull, but unfortunately it is and can be susceptible to damage and disease. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most prevalent. In March of this year, the US National Library of Medicine reported that 5.3 million Americans have AD and the population of 65 years  or older carries 96.2%(5.1 million) of that population. It is estimated that by 2050 this number will grow to nearly 10 million.

Our brain is there to help us remember important dates, memories and especially to function on a daily basis. We know the older we get the harder it is for us to remember things. The key is the older we get and/or the more serious the condition of AD becomes it would be helpful to have tips and ideas to help us remember.

Patients who take warfarin need to complete their INR test as directed. Patients that have AD and INR self-test may have a harder time remembering to take a test on a regular basis. Here are some great tips and suggestions:

  • Music is a powerful tool for patients with AD; it can stimulate healthy interactions, assist with motor movements and promotes cognitive activity. Set an alarm on a phone or clock radio that will play music to prompt the patient to begin their self-test.
  • Keep a calendar specifically for medication or testing and mark it off daily. When the day comes to self-test, use colors or bold writing to make the action to test should stand out.
  • Use a daily checklist of all things that need to get done on a daily/weekly basis (Grooming, Bathing, Getting Dressed, Eating, Taking Medications and INR Self-testing). This checklist can be kept with the calendar and to make sure the testing is only done on the scheduled days.
  • Have a dedicated space in the home for self-testing; when the patient has completed a test have the materials ready for the next test.
  • Take photos of all of the steps of the INR self-testing process to be used as a guide to assist with having successful test results.
  • Utilize the reminders from your Home INR Monitoring service. Alere Home Monitoring places reminder calls to patients when a test has been missed.

Only 1 in 7 people living with AD live alone, most patients who are diagnosed with AD typically have a caregiver and 80% of the caregivers are family members. These tips will not only help the patients but also the caregiver to ensure proper INR self-testing to get the necessary results to the patient’s physician. Having multiple diagnoses can seem to make life more difficult, but keeping informed on new tips and making sure you are prepared can only assist in living life to your own tune.

References:

  1. Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Mar; 11(3); 332-84. Retrieved from website:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25984581.
  2. Ann Clair, Alicia, Ph.D., MT-BC et al. Education and Care: Music. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. May 28, 2015. Retrieved from website:http://www.alzfdn.org/EducationandCare/musictherapy.html.
  3. Alzheimer’s Association. Tips for Daily Life. Life with ALZ. 2015. Retrieved from website:http://www.alz.org/i-have-alz/tips-for-daily-life.asp.