A time to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia
Part 2 of 3
By Bernard Freeman
Why Get Checked?
It’s important to see a doctor if you or your family notice any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Catching it early can provide benefits for those who are diagnosed. Alzheimer’s Association has a list of the many benefits that come with being checked for Alzheimer’s disease.
Getting checked by your doctor can help you know if you really are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or not. Some symptoms you may be feeling could just be the result of aging. Seeing your doctor can provide you with the relief of knowing for sure what is occurring in you.
Access to Treatment
If Alzheimer’s is the cause of symptoms, an early diagnosis can help give you access to treatment options. There are no medications to cure Alzheimer’s, but there are some medications that can help lessen symptoms. Catching Alzheimer’s early can provide you with a variety of treatment options and gives you a better chance of benefiting from your treatment.
Be a Part of the Effort
Seeing a doctor can also help you contribute to the effort in finding a cure by participating in clinical trials. This research may provide medical benefits.
Prioritize your Health
Prioritize your health by seeing your doctor. Whether you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or not, see your doctor and focus on making life changes. Quit smoking, control your blood pressure, exercise and take care of your social and mental health. All these things can help preserve your cognitive functions if you are diagnosed.
Being diagnosed early may help relieve any anxieties you or your family are experiencing. You and your family can also have the chance to prioritize more time together.
Plan the Future
Although this may be one of the hardest parts of being diagnosed early, plan your family’s future. Be open with your family about what you want throughout each stage of your disease. This can help give your family some peace of mind knowing that you are happy at each stage of your diagnosis.
Early diagnosis can also help you plan your legal, financial and end-of-life decisions. Take the time to review all legal documents and all finances. This will help allow you to relieve your family of any stress and allow you to focus on spending quality time with them.
Approaching Memory Loss
If you or a family member ever have the sense that you may be forgetting things more often or see changes in behavior, it’s natural to worry.
It’s important that you or your family member are vocal about issues you may seem to be having. Diagnosing a problem as soon as changes are seen can mean the difference in care plans.
Here is a guide provided by the Alzheimer’s Association about how to approach memory loss concerns.
Do You Notice Changes?
If you or a person are thinking you may be experiencing changes mentally and behaviorally, it’s important that the first thing you do is assess what is going on. What have you noticed recently that may be different? Are you forgetting places you’ve gone to for years, people’s names or find it difficult to keep a conversation?
What Else May Be Affecting You?
There are various conditions in life that can affect short-term and long-term memory. Are there any lifestyle choices, drugs or health issues you think may be the cause for these changes?
Does Someone Else Notice?
Have any friends or family noticed or pointed out any odd or different behaviors to you? Have they expressed concerns for your overall health? What are some of the things they noticed were different?
Know the Symptoms
Take time to look over the symptoms with family and see if any of the behavioral and mental changes you may be experiencing are linked to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Start a Conversation
The Alzheimer’s Association says if you noticed changes in yourself, confide in someone that you trust. If you’ve noticed changes in a family member, they may choose to confide in you. The best time to talk is as soon as the changes occur. It’s important that everything is done as early as possible.
Bringing up a conversation about health concerns is never easy, especially, if it involves loved ones that are close to you.
Bringing up concerns may make things seem more real for you and family members. If you need help, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900.