Should Your Loved One Participate in an Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial?

September 24, 2018

Alzheimer’s clinical trial

Considering an Alzheimer’s clinical trial? Here’s what you should consider first, along with tips for connecting with a trial near you.

When a family elder or friend has Alzheimer’s disease, their adult children and loved ones go to great lengths to find answers. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for the disease. Healthcare professionals’ only course of action is to try to treat the symptoms.

In searching for help, families often stumble across information on Alzheimer’s clinical trials. While it’s unlikely that the trial will offer a cure, it may be a project that helps mitigate symptoms or a promising study that offers hope to future generations. Many Alzheimer’s trials across the country are seeking participants for a variety of research projects.

Before you proceed, it is best to learn how clinical trials work.

What to Know About Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

Here are a few facts to know before you or a loved one with Alzheimer’s joins a clinical trial:

  • Placebo participant: For a clinical trial to be objective, some participants will be randomly chosen for the placebo. Simply put, a placebo participant receives an inactive drug or treatment without being told. This is tough for families to accept. You can review the Library of Medicine’s “Placebo in clinical trials” to learn more.
  • Informed consent: If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, their power of attorney or legal guardian may need to provide consent on the senior’s behalf.
  • Be realistic about outcomes: Clinical trials rarely provide a miracle cure. This is clearly true with Alzheimer’s trials. But a trial might offer new ways to slow the progression of the disease or treat symptoms. It’s important to enter into a clinical trial with realistic expectations about the outcome.
  • Time commitment: Alzheimer’s caregivers often feel overwhelmed from juggling so many daily tasks and chores. Adding one more responsibility to that list might be difficult. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how much time the trial will require.

How to Connect with an Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial

Two avenues for exploring Alzheimer’s clinical trials that are actively seeking participants include:

  • National Institute on Aging (NIA): The NIA maintains a database of clinical trials including those focused on Alzheimer’s disease. You can use your zip code to search for a trial based on how many miles you are willing to travel to participate.
  • Trial Match: The Alzheimer’s Association maintains a database of more than 250 ongoing trials. You can visit their site to learn more and to look for studies seeking participants in your community.

Improving the Quality of Life for People with Alzheimer’s

At Legacy Senior Living communities, we are honored to have the opportunity to help adults with Alzheimer’s disease live their best quality of life each day. Our dedicated memory care program is called The Harbor.

From specialty caregivers to a homelike setting, we focus on helping residents live to their highest potential each day. Call us today to schedule a private tour at The Harbor nearest you.