What's Next After a Diagnosis of Alzheimer's?
While it’s true there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps you can take to help protect your independence and prepare for the days ahead.
Life After an Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis
Don’t jump to the conclusion that your quality of life will immediately decline. Learning more about how to care for your physical and emotional well-being may allow you to feel more in control of your situation.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
1. Seek professional and peer-to-peer support
Talking with a professional counselor and joining a support group for adults living with Alzheimer’s are two ways to help you come to terms with the diagnosis. Your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association can likely connect you with both.
If you prefer to join an online support group, ALZConnected is a great one. They have resources and forums for both the person living with the disease, and those who love them.
2. Decide when to tell others
Another consideration you’ll face is how and when to share your news with family and friends. Don’t feel like you are under any obligation to do so before you feel ready. While having friends and neighbors who are aware of the situation might give you peace of mind about your safety, it may help to give yourself a few weeks or months to process the news first.
Some seniors find it easier to ask a trusted love one to explain the diagnosis on their behalf. As you are deciding how to handle informing others, this is one option to keep in mind.
3. Commit to a healthy lifestyle
A growing amount of research shows that lifestyle choices may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and quality sleep are essential.
The Blue Zones lifestyle is often cited as one that promotes brain health. It is modeled after the way people live in five regions of the world, called Blue Zones, where incidences of Alzheimer’s are low.
Their diet is made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish. They eat very little dairy and red meat. Exercise is also a part of daily life. Swimming, biking, gardening, and walking are common.
4. Meet with an attorney
Meeting with an attorney to draft necessary legal documents is also essential. An attorney well-versed in elder care and the issues faced by people with dementia is probably best.
The attorney can work with you to determine what types of documents you need, such as a will, a power of attorney, or a trust, and how to craft them in a way that ensures your wishes are honored. These documents also make it easier for your loved ones to make decisions on your behalf if they are required to do so.
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has an online database you can use to search for an attorney near your home.
5. Explore local options for support
It may help you and your family members if you learn more about the options for care and support in your community. Home care providers might be able to assist with menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. Moving to an assisted living community can take the burden of maintaining a home and yard off your shoulders, while also providing support with personal care. Finding one that also has an Alzheimer’s care neighborhood may allow for greater peace of mind about the future.
Memory Care at Five Star Senior Living
At Five Star Senior Living, we offer a variety of memory care services, including our award-winning Bridge to Rediscovery Alzheimer’s care program. It is designed to allow adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia to live their best quality of life.
Call (617) 796-8387 to learn more about assisted living and memory care at Five Star Senior Living!