What to Do If You Are Diagnosed with Alzheimer's

  • March 17, 2020

Learning you have a serious health issue is tough. Finding out your moments of forgetfulness are actually Alzheimer’s disease is especially difficult.

It’s understandable to be concerned about your future and how the diagnosis will affect people you love.

If you are an older adult who was recently diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s, we have a few suggestions for navigating the weeks and months ahead.

Living with a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

1. Allow yourself time

Just the word Alzheimer’s can be frightening. This is especially true if you’ve watched someone close to you struggle with the disease. Our first suggestion is to give yourself time to process the diagnosis. While there will be decisions to make, allow yourself a few weeks if possible, to begin coming to terms with this change.

Many older adults find it helps to speak with a counselor who has experience supporting seniors with this type of diagnosis or join a support group. The Alzheimer’s Association in your area is a good place to turn for help locating these resources.

2. Commit to a healthy lifestyle

While a cure for Alzheimer’s has so far eluded scientists, research indicates making healthy lifestyle choices may slow the progression of the disease. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and quality sleep are essential.

Consider adopting a lifestyle similar to that of people who live in Blue Zones around the world. They consume a largely plant-based diet, stay physically active, spend time with family, focus on meaningful days, and much more.

3. Share your wishes with your family

It will probably give you and your family peace of mind to learn about the many types of Alzheimer’s care options. This can give you a voice in determining how your future care needs will be handled. Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to make calls or personal visits on your behalf.

You should meet with an attorney if you haven’t already done so. They can recommend the legal documents you should create, such as a power of attorney, a will, or a trust. An elder law attorney might be especially helpful. You can find one by searching the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys database.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Some seniors find moving to a continuing care retirement community gives them peace of mind about the future. They may initially move to assisted living and then memory care as their disease progresses.

Call (617) 796-8387 to schedule a tour of the community nearest you to learn more!
 


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