Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease can be scary, overwhelming, and difficult to process. Whether it’s yourself or a family member who has been diagnosed, you may feel as though you don’t know where to turn or what to do next.
You are not alone. These feelings are not uncommon, and it’s completely normal to feel a huge spectrum of emotions. But for many seniors and their family members, learning more about the disease, its progression and available treatments is a great way to gain some peace of mind.
And although finding out more about the disease may initially seem frightening, knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared while you learn to live with Alzheimer’s. If you want to know more but are unsure where to start, here are just a few questions you might want to ask your doctor or specialist.
1. What stage is the disease at and how will it progress?
Alzheimer’s Disease progresses through a range of stages (often referred to as early, middle and late). Knowing which stage the disease is at now, and how long it usually takes to progress may help you plan the things you want to do in the meantime. The progression of the disease varies from person to person, and many people live well with Alzheimer’s Disease for many years, providing the correct care and adaptations are provided along the way.
2. What should I be doing at this stage?
It’s common to wonder what you should be doing to keep yourself or your loved one healthy, and equally what provisions you should be putting in place for when the disease progresses. Your doctor will be able to provide lifestyle recommendations for things like physical exercise and staying mentally active, as well as pointers on practical tasks you might want to take care of. For example, you may wish to start thinking early about plans for finances or a memory care community in San Antonio. This way, you or your loved one can be as involved in the decision-making process as possible.
3. What are my treatment options?
Although Alzheimer’s is not currently curable, there are a range of treatments that can help with the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease. Most commonly in the early stages, a pharmaceutical treatment may be offered to try to slow the progression of the illness. If you or your loved one is interested in taking medication, either to steady the progression of Alzheimer’s or to treat behavioral symptoms, you might like to ask about the possible side effects, too. A range of non-pharmaceutical therapies may also be recommended, either instead of or to compliment pharmaceutical treatments. For example, many individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease enjoy attending arts and crafts or singing and dancing group activities to keep their mind active in an enjoyable way.
4. Is it definitely Alzheimer’s Disease?
Although Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common, there are many different types of dementia. For example, vascular dementia is often triggered by an event like a stroke. It’s important to ensure you or your loved one has the correct diagnosis, as each type of dementia is unique and may require slightly differing treatments, despite the main symptoms being similar. It’s ok to ask for clarity on what tests were conducted to confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, and why these tests were used.
5. Is Alzheimer’s Disease hereditary?
When presented with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, worrying that the condition will run in the family is normal. Though there is evidence that in some cases, the disease can run in families, this certainly isn’t always the case, and your doctor may be able to provide more clarity on this for your personal situation.
6. Are there any support organizations in my area?
Often, there are a range of support groups and organizations dedicated to Alzheimer’s care in San Antonio. Joining a support group may be beneficial, whether you have the disease yourself or are a family caregiver. Talking to others going through a similar experience can be reassuring, giving you real-life insights into what to expect throughout the course of the disease.
7. What are the warning signs that the disease is progressing?
If someone you love has been newly diagnosed with dementia, it may be useful for you to be aware of that may indicate the disease is progressing. Particularly if you are initially going to be your parent or loved one’s primary caregiver, it’s good to have knowledge of the course of the disease and common symptoms.
It’s completely natural to feel confused and full of questions when you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Putting together a list of questions before speaking with your doctor or specialist is a great way to ensure you get all the information you need. Hopefully, this will help you to leave feeling more empowered and equipped to make decisions.
The questions we’ve covered today are just ideas – not everyone wants to know the answers to all of them, and that decision is completely valid. And of course, you may have a range of other questions, too. Your doctor will be happy to discuss any concerns you have, providing as much insight as possible for you or your loved one.
If your loved one is in need of dementia care in San Antonio, contact Pipestone Place today! Rest assured, we’re here to support you and your family providing answers to the questions you may have about dementia and your loved one’s care.