Dealing With an Alzheimer's Diagnosis
Finding out that a loved one has Alzheimer's disease can be stressful, frightening, and overwhelming. Tips that may help caregivers after a diagnosis include:
- Ask the doctor about any questions you have about Alzheimer's disease. Find out what treatments might work best to alleviate symptoms or address behavior problems.
- Contact organizations such as the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center for more information about the disease, treatment options, and caregiving resources. Some community groups may offer classes to teach caregiving, problem solving, and management skills.
- Find a support group where you can share your feelings and concerns. Members of support groups often have helpful ideas or know of useful resources based on their own experiences. Online support groups make it possible for caregivers to receive support without having to leave home.
- Study your day to see if you can develop a routine that makes things go more smoothly. If there are times of day when the person with Alzheimer's disease is less confused or more cooperative, plan your routine to make the most of those moments. Keep in mind that the way the person functions may change from day to day, so try to be flexible and adapt your routine as needed.
- Consider using adult day care or respite services to ease the day-to-day demands of caregiving for an Alzheimer patient. These services allow you to have a break while knowing that the person with Alzheimer's disease is being well cared for.
- Begin to plan for the future. This may include getting financial and legal documents in order, investigating long-term care options, and determining what services are covered by health insurance and Medicare.