November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that affects millions of Americans across the United States. It can continue for 15 to 20 years, or in some cases even longer, causing gradual mental decline and other problems.
Getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating for the patient and his or her family. If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, now is the time to talk to experts for advice, confide in family and friends for support, and take action to prepare for problems that may arise in the future.
Learn the Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease
The first thing you need to do is to educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease. Do some reading or talk to an expert in the field or a social worker who can explain the stages of the illness, how it progresses, and what to expect. A geriatric care manager or consultant or your loved one’s doctor can refer you to resources in your community. Confronting the diagnosis with facts can help you face your fears and be prepared to deal with challenges.
Seek out Support for Your Loved One and Yourself
Encourage your loved one to talk to family and friends about the diagnosis. This can help fight the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s and can help him or her get support from others. You might want to suggest going to a support group. Support groups are also available for the family members and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Prepare to Help with Financial and Medical Affairs
You may need to help your loved one manage his or her personal affairs, or you may need to take them over completely now or in the future. If you can, have an open discussion with your loved one about money and medical records. Ask him or her to authorize you to help handle affairs and to give you access to information you will need. If your loved one grants you access voluntarily, you can avoid the need for a legal proceeding in the future.
Be Prepared to Deal with Changes When Necessary
Depending on the stage of the Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one’s life may change dramatically or very little right away. Even if things do not need to change significantly right now, they probably will in the future. Your family member may not be able to continue living independently without assistance.
Many people decide to have a family member with Alzheimer’s disease move in with them so they can help with care. If that is not feasible, another option is to hire an in-home caregiver. He or she can provide a range of services, including help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, medication reminders, and personal care.
How Dependable Care Can Help Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s
Dependable Care has a team of trained and compassionate caregivers who have experience helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and their families. We can provide a variety of services tailored to your loved one’s needs and abilities. If your family member has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, contact Dependable Care so we can discuss ways to help and match your family member with the right caregiver.