Talk to your Parkinson’s doctor, preferably a neurologist or movement disorders specialist, about dementia concerns. While there is not a way to stop the disease’s progression, a doctor can help manage the symptoms.
Studies have shown that prescription medications developed for Alzheimer’s disease have benefits in PD dementia, including rivastigmine (the only FDA-approved PDD medication), donepezil and galantamine. A doctor can also recommend counseling and other therapies.
Your doctor may recommend you work with a specially trained neuropsychologist or speech-language pathologist who can offer cognitive remediation therapy. This technique teaches people with cognitive impairment ways to compensate for memory or thinking problems by:
- Testing that identifies cognitive strengths to overcome weaker areas of thinking.
- Highlighting concrete strategies to help with daily functioning.
People in the early stages of PDD can use cognitive remediation skills independently. Care partners and family members can help apply the strategies as dementia progresses.
This type of treatment applies changes to the environment to minimize memory, vision and perception or orientation difficulties. Strategies include decluttering and simplifying living areas to reduce confusion and using low-level nighttime lighting to reduce visual misperceptions and confusion.
A structured, regular day-to-day routine can also help people with Parkinson’s-related dementia feel more comfortable.
Page reviewed by Dr. Jori Fleisher, MSCE, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence.