The growing elderly population is creating record numbers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias. Nursing has an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how we care for adults with dementia, reduce the burden of caregivers, and preserve the personhood of patients. This article reviews AD and dementia pathophysiology, history, screening, stigma, treatments and interventions, and caregiver support. A nurse's journey with her mother with AD imparts the meaning of patient dignity.
Monica Kennison, EdD, RN, is a professor and nursing chair at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky.
Elizabeth M. Long, DNP, APRN, is an assistant professor at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, a practicing nurse practitioner, and a Music & Memory™ program champion.
The manuscript by Dr. Long was accepted by peer-review 11/6/2017; the manuscript by Dr. Kennison was accepted by peer-review 2/18/2018.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.