Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease both for the affected individual and for their families. If you have a loved one who has been newly diagnosed, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- It’s Not A Rare Condition: Studies show that, in the US, one in ten people over 65 have the disease.
- It’s Not Limited To The Elderly: While most of the individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s are over 65 years old, there is a form of the disease that can affect people who are as young as 30 years old.
- It Follows A Demographic: Based on national research data, we know that the disease is more likely to affect women than men, and more likely to affect African Americans.
- Alzheimer’s Is A Type Of Dementia: Dementia, in general, is characterized by loss of mental capacity. Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia.
- Alzheimer’s Patients Need Regular Care: Alzheimer’s affects a person’s ability to reason and to make decisions. This means that an affected individual will need regular care and help- especially as the disease progresses.
- Most Care Givers Are Family: Studies show that most of the time Alzheimer’s patients are cared for by their own family. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an adjustment for the entire family and is very challenging.
- You’ll Have To Explain: You’ll need to let other family members know what’s going on. This especially includes children who may not understand why a family member is confused or fails to recognize them.
- Working With Your Doctor Is Important: Many Alzheimer’s patients have other diseases and it will become your responsibility to ensure that your loved one makes it to important doctor’s appointments. It is also imperative that you take charge of your loved one’s medication regimen.
- Reassurance Is Key: During the course of their disease, your loved one may become disoriented. It is important to reassure them that they are safe and loved.
Finding out that a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be a shock. However, you are not alone. There are plenty of resources including help, advice and support groups available.