Planning Ahead: Post Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is life-changing. Questions, fears and powerful emotions will flood your head as you realize how much your life will be transformed in the coming months and years. Some of these changes won’t be welcomed, but others can enrich your quality of life and improve your well-being.

Although you might be reluctant to discuss your condition and make tough decisions, planning for the future will provide comfort and peace of mind and prevent uncomfortable problems and situations down the road. Tackling issues regarding care, finances, living arrangements and legal matters is a way to exercise your independence and show that you are empowered. Following these steps will help you create a smart, realistic plan for your future that addresses your needs and the concerns of your family members.

  1. Learning more about Alzheimer’s disease is the best way to empower yourself and overcome the stigma and misconceptions that surround mental health issues.
  2. Talk to your doctor about who will be managing your care. Learn about treatments and therapies that can help. You can also check into experimental medications and research programs that are testing new methods.
  3. After you have a thorough understanding of how Alzheimer’s might affect your life, you can discuss these challenges with your friends and loved ones. Sharing your experiences and knowledge will help your family and caregivers overcome their preconceptions.
  4. Family members and friends sometimes have difficulty comprehending and dealing with the diagnosis. For this reason, it’s helpful for patients and family members to talk to someone in a similar situation. Support groups are ideal for meeting people who have experiences that relate to yours.
  5. Take advantage of resources, and connect with others. Support groups give you access to activities that enrich your life. Taking up new activities, making new friends and trying new hobbies are all excellent for enriching your life and making positive changes.
  6. Create a comprehensive plan that encompasses day-to-day challenges and long-term needs. By addressing legal and financial concerns, you can make sure that these issues are handled in accordance with your views. You should also plan for day-to-day matters. Should you continue to drive if you are able to safely? Who will be responsible for shopping or taking you to appointments? What services do you need? What accommodations can make life at home easier or more comfortable? Answering these questions will allow you to retain your independence and enjoy the best quality of life.

The future is now. Research shows that participating in treatments, taking an active role in your care and accepting support are beneficial. Everything you do to create a complete plan will make your life better. Take advantage of that.