Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Diagnosis

Has a friend or relative been diagnosed with Alzheimer's? Please share your story.

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Dealing with the Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

Finding out that a loved one has Alzheimer's disease can be stressful, frightening, and overwhelming. As you begin to take stock of the situation, here are some tips that may help:

  • Ask the doctor any questions you have about Alzheimer's disease. Find out what treatments might work best to alleviate symptoms or address behavior problems.
  • Contact organizations such as the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center for more information about the disease, treatment options, andcaregiving resources. Some community groups may offer classes to teach caregiving, problem-solving, and management skills. See "For More Information" below to contact the ADEAR Center and a variety of other helpful organizations.
  • Find a support group where you can share your feelings and concerns. Members of support groups often have helpful ideas or know of useful resources based on their own experiences. Online support groups make it possible for caregivers to receive support without having to leave home. The Alzheimer's Association and other organizations sponsor support groups.
  • Study your day to see if you can develop a routine that makes things go more smoothly. If there are times of day when the person with Alzheimer's is less confused or more cooperative, plan your routine to make the most of those moments. Keep in mind that the way the person functions may change from day to day, so try to be flexible and adapt your routine as needed.
  • Consider using adult day care or respite services to ease the day-to-day demands of caregiving. These services allow you to have a break while knowing that the person with Alzheimer's is being well cared for.
  • Begin to plan for the future. This may include getting financial and legal documents in order, investigating long-term care options, and determining what services are covered by health insurance and Medicare.
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