What’s Next After a Parent is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?

  • April 21, 2017

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is a traumatic experience, particularly when it involves a parent. Your mother or father cared for you, and now it is your turn to be the caregiver. This information will help you learn more about what to expect during these emotional days.

After a Parent’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

It is certainly shocking to learn that your parent has been diagnosed with a debilitating brain disorder like Alzheimer’s disease. Before you proceed any further, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends that you take your parent to a different doctor for a second opinion. This will confirm that the symptoms aren’t being caused by other factors, such as stroke, thyroid issues, or drug interactions.

If a primary care physician diagnosed your parent with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, then you might want to seek the advice of a neurologist. A specialist like a neurologist can conduct a complete assessment, including a brain scan, to confirm your parent’s diagnosis.

At first, you might think that you’re doing the wrong thing by subjecting your loved one to more tests and doctor’s visits. But it is important to eliminate all other potential causes of memory loss in order to arrive at a correct treatment plan for your parent.

While no one wants to hear a confirmation of this disease, an early diagnosis can allow your family to plan well for the future. This means your senior loved one can have a voice in making choices, such as which memory care community they might want to move to or which family member they want to speak for them when they are unable to speak for themselves.

Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease

As you start to adjust to your new role as a caregiver for your parent, you will likely begin feeling many different emotions. A few common ones include:

  • Anger. It’s natural to feel angry after your parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. After all, something bad has happened to someone you love, and there’s nothing you can do to control this terrible disease.
  • Relief. It might seem odd, but after a long time of observing your loved one’s changing behaviors, you might feel relieved that there is a reason behind it all.
  • Depression. Life will be different now as you become your parent’s caregiver. It’s OK to feel sad about this turn of events.
  • Fear. No one knows how slowly or quickly Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will progress. It’s normal to feel scared of what’s in store for your loved one.
  • Isolation: It isn’t uncommon for a spouse caring who is caring for a partner with Alzheimer’s to feel isolated and alone. Because adults with Alzheimer’s typically need 24/7 monitoring, a spouse may be unable to leave their home very often.

These all normal feelings, but it doesn’t mean that you have to experience them alone. There are many resources to support caregivers including in-person and online support groups.

A Caring Community for Alzheimer’s Patient Support

Five Star Senior Living offers many resources for families coping with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease. Call the community nearest you with questions and to learn more about memory care!


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