The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease may have taken a few months, even one or two years, to be reached. Once it has at least you know what the matter is. I have put together 10 things you need to do next.
Get Appropriate Medical Input
It is so important to get medical advice and support that ultimately provides the best possible lifestyle for you and your loved one. Find out from your family doctor who is the best person in your area specializing in treatments for people with Alzheimer's disease and then make an appointment. A good family doctor with access to a multidisciplinary team is also invaluable. Psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists and nurses with experience in the care of people with Alzheimer's can help you deal with behavioral difficulties and advise you on day care, respite care and support facilities.
Find Out How it Feels to Have Alzheimer's
It is very important to try to understand what it must be like to Alzheimer's. It can help you in your interactions with people who have the disease. It helps you understand why they behave in the way they do. It will help you deal with their memory loss, loss of identity and social roles. It will make you more empathic.
More about What is it like to have Alzheimer's Disease?
Find out About Alzheimer's
There are a few basics you really need to know. Click through to these links:
Get Support and Help
Caregiving can be very rewarding but it can also be very stressful and isolating. It is important for primary caregivers and their families to get support. The Alzheimer's Association is a national agency providing support groups, information and friendship. They raise funds and are actively involved in advocating on behalf of people with the disease. Often run by people who use or have used their services, The Alzheimer's Association Chapter in your area.
Involve The Family in Care Planning
You will need help in the coming years and including extended family members from the beginning has great advantages;
They can learn about the disease with you.
They can help with legal and financial planning
They can provide support with care, outings, visits, friendship and advice.
Involve the Person with Alzheimer's in Future Planning
Find out what your loved one would like to happen to them and what they expect from you. Involve them as much as possible in decisions you need to make about their future needs and your own needs and their other dependants.
Future Financial Planning
As Alzheimer's disease progresses the patient will be less able to manage personal or business finances. Sometimes this comes as a shock to the family and the extent of their disability is not realised until, for example, a utility company shuts off power due to an unpaid bill! Getting very independent and stubborn people to accept help and give up control over their finances can be very difficult. Equally it is very important to keep someone with Alzheimer's involved in their situation and given information on decisions as much as they are able. It can be difficult getting the balance right and there are no easy answers to this situation. It may be that the family of someone with Alzheimer's will need to take legal advice, declare the person incompetent and obtain Power of Attorney.
Future Legal Planning
Some of the most important decisions you will need to make are about legal protection. People in the early stage of Alzheimer's will often be able to direct an attorney and put into place legal protection for himself/herself and their family and business associates. You will need to think about:
Durable Power of Attorney
Setting up joint bank accounts with their spouse
Appointing someone to represent their interests, if family members are inappropriate.
Should your Loved One be Driving?
One important thing you will have to deal with is your loved one's ability to drive. WE know that many people with Alzheimer's continue to drive, sometimes for up to 2 years following diagnosis. However I think it is very important you consult your doctor on this issue. Driving is a privilege, not a right. In some States you are legally required to inform the authorities. You can contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles for more information
Finally. Most Important, Look After Yourself!!