Receiving an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis can be difficult, for both the individual and their family members – but it’s important to remember that there are support groups and other forms of care available to help people to manage their symptoms as the disease progresses. Whether you are diagnosed with young onset dementia or have recognised your symptoms at the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, medical treatment and support from healthcare professionals is accessible.
While many people are aware of the types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease support available, it can be more difficult to find resources detailing what to expect when faced with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. What is the best approach to manage the individual’s physical and mental health? How quickly can cognitive decline be expected? And what can family members do to support as dementia progresses?
In this blog post put together by our Alzheimer’s disease experts here at Dementech, we will discuss what diagnosed individuals and other family members can expect when dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms.
Understanding Alzheimer’s and How The Disease Progresses
Following an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis, it can be helpful for each family member to conduct their own Alzheimer’s research by becoming familiar with resources from institutions like the Alzheimer’s Association or Alzheimer’s Society. There are a number of support networks working to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s in a variety of ways. Some groups help people affected by the disease to understand the symptoms from the very early stages, and some raise awareness from a scientific perspective, encouraging clinical trials, genetic testing and analysis of Alzheimer’s brain cells.
Understanding Alzheimer’s and how the disease progresses is essential, even at the early stage of diagnosis. Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are typically broken down into three stages: early, middle and late. However, symptoms can overlap and vary from person to person. The Alzheimer’s Association details ten warning signs and symptoms which span across these three different stages. If you would like to learn more about each individual stage of the disease, and where common symptoms such as memory lapses and memory loss fit into them, take a look at this blog post.
Understanding the fundamentals of Alzehimer’s disease is of course an important step in terms of coping with a diagnosis, but it can also be useful for families of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease to locate a support network of others who have been through dementia diagnosis. Both you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease need to take steps towards managing your own health through this difficult time, and speaking with others living with dementia can provide helpful information and reassurance.
Discovering Treatment Options and Planning Future Care
After an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, you will need to assess the treatment options available and make regular appointments with your primary care doctor. While it may seem excessive, these regular appointments will likely be necessary even at the early stage of the disease, so that your doctor can build up a comprehensive picture of your symptoms and plan ahead for future treatment.
Thanks to incredible research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association and other institutions, new treatments for the disease are becoming increasingly accessible. At Dementech, we use cutting-edge technology (CANTAB) to assess the severity of symptoms in the brain. By doing so, we have the ability to provide an early diagnosis of cognitive impairment and effectively manage it. So, no matter where you are on your journey, our experts can provide useful insights into your condition and support you in locating the care you will need in the future. You may even wish to participate in a clinical trial yourself to support the development of new treatments.
Please note: When it comes to planning ahead, you may also wish to prepare or update your will, health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney.
Looking After Your Emotional, Physical and Mental Health
Being diagnosed with dementia can present a number of challenges, and it’s vital that both the affected and close family members take their emotional health into account. Feeling depressed and forgetting about your own self care is common if a loved one is struggling to cope with their diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and similarly, the affected will face an increased risk of emotional health neglect. Thankfully, there are support programs available.
In order to provide valuable, practical help to the person with the disease, seeking mental health support is key for all parties. As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become more noticeable, some family members may need support in the form of therapy or counselling. The Alzheimer’s Society also has some resources on how to manage your health and wellbeing as a carer for a person with dementia.
As for the individual with Alzheimer’s disease, while they progress from the early stage to later stages, they will likely need more support in terms of managing their mental and physical health. Their thinking ability may be impaired, and they may have trouble with physical daily tasks, such as bathing. At this stage, it can be useful to seek professional help in the form of a personal care team.
Support for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients and Family Members from Dementech
If you or a loved one is dealing with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, Dementech Neurosciences can provide the necessary support. We have an in-house speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, dietitian, psychologist and psychiatrist who can assist patients in managing their symptoms, and our experts can also provide genetic screening and counselling for each affected family member. Our doctors are highly-trained and experienced across every stage of the disease, and can provide valuable support when it comes to both diagnosis and treatment.
At Dementech, we can also provide patients with the opportunity to participate in clinical trials testing novel pharmacological intervention. These trials aim to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the future.Contact our experts today to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, and find out how you can receive dedicated support to cope with your diagnosis, or the diagnosis of a loved one.