Posted 3/5/2013 11:04 AM (GMT -6)
My 98-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 8 years ago. For the past four years I've been his 24/7 caregiver, and I've discovered that his frequent, frightening lapses into delusion/anxiety/aggression can be controlled with diet. First of all, lots of water and juices (low-sugar apple, cranberry, and cherry). Also lots of fresh vegetables, alone or in soups: tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, okra, eggplant, celery, mustard greens, turnip greens. Fresh fruit at every meal (bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, pears). Tons of plain yogurt. Olive oil. For protein: eggs, skim milk, chicken, fish -- but in small amounts throughout the day rather than a big meaty dinner at night. No cheese. No peanut butter. No red meat. No cookies, cake, candy. Bread and pasta only occasionally. As it turns out, I now realize this is a low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free diet. But the reason it works for Dad (I believe) is that it prevents constipation, UTI, and dehydration, all of which are known as common causes of mental confusion in the elderly. Three medicines also help: Flomax, Senna, and Cerefolin. The success of this diet tends to bolster my theory that Alzheimers is not the right diagnosis for him. Since the beginning of the full, perfected diet 6 months ago, he has had consistently clear thinking without confusion (although his memory is still terrible).