How to Navigate an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and the most common form of dementia, with the CDC detailing that 5.8 million Americans are diagnosed with the condition. Living with Alzheimer’s, and caring for those with the disease, is very difficult and stressful, especially if you are ill-prepared. It is important to stay well-informed of who to see and what to do once you or a loved one receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Who to see
Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will typically have to seek a neurologist. These physicians specialize in diseases affecting the brain and the nervous system, and they will be able to give medical advice and monitor the progress of the disease using memory tests.
Alia Bucciarelli writing for Health Grade outlines how depression is very common among Alzheimer’s patients. Another professional that will help those afflicted with the disease is a psychiatrist. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s often become distraught with their symptoms and it will affect their mood. A psychiatrist will be able to deal with the mental health issues such as mood disorders.
Treatments and how to prepare for them
Medication is offered to those who are already diagnosed with the disease. These medicines do not cure the disease but try to keep the mental functions healthy for as long as they can. As mentioned above, psychological treatment can also be given for patients who are struggling with the disease emotionally.
Medication for Alzheimer’s can be expensive. Our post on “The Pricing of Alzheimer’s Medication: Is it Fair?” reports that the average price for test drugs is $56,000 per year. This is a hefty price tag for the average American, which is why it is important to have an insurance plan that will cover the expenses. Most healthcare plans will have dedicated programs that cover Alzheimer’s. Kelsey Care Advantage has a dedicated Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program that covers Alzheimer’s disease. Alongside that program, their plans cover medication and other healthcare services including psychological treatment and doctor’s appointments. It is important you get a full healthcare plan like the above to cover every aspect of the Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is very difficult. This is why it is important to surround yourself with friends and family for support. They will not only make the diagnosis easier, but will also be able to help and care for you emotionally and physically.
In order to be properly prepared, ensure that everyone is aware of their roles and how they can help. As the disease progresses, you don’t want people unsure of what steps to take next, as this will make living with Alzheimer’s much harder.
Life after diagnosis
After a diagnosis, patients should choose to live a healthier lifestyle. HelpGuide states that diet and regular exercise can help in slowing down the progression of the disease. Together with medication, the advancement of symptoms may be delayed for a longer period of time as opposed to just taking medication.
Aside from lifestyle changes, those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s should also adapt their environment to suit their needs. Make sure that you are in a safe home where the risk of accidents is low. Those with Alzheimer’s may unknowingly put themselves in dangerous situations and preparing for this will be a big help in the future.
After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s you should also keep your legal documents in order by giving a trusted family member or friend power of attorney. This is just a precaution before their condition gets worse. Having everything sorted out legally will help reduce any stress.
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can truly change your life. There are many ways you can help slow down the disease but, unfortunately, there is no cure. Be sure to plan for the future after you are diagnosed and to have a supportive environment. For information do check out our other posts on Racing to End Alzheimer’s.