Has your aging parent recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease? Do you know what it is and what it may mean? Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that can cause problems with memory, thinking, cognition, and behavior. Symptoms usually, although not always, develop slowly and worsen over time. The end-stages of the disease can become life-threatening.
Is there a cure? Not yet, but early detection offers the best chance for effective treatment and improved quality of life. The most widely recognized early warning sign is memory loss, and knowing what to do about it could make all the difference in the treatment options. Here are three important items to keep in mind when approaching your loved one, with potential Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia-related memory issues.
1. Assess the situation early. What are the changes in memory, thinking, or behavior that you have observed? Are you concerned that your loved one is doing, or not doing something? Has anyone else noticed the same changes that you are seeing?
Be sure to write down your concerns because over time it can help establish the difference between what could be Alzheimer’s Disease and the normal aging process. Be aware that as we age a certain amount of memory loss and confusion is to be expected, and other factors may affect older adults as well, such as prescription medications, stress, and other health conditions.
Do not be afraid to proactively speak with a medical professional or qualified health care provider. Researching memory loss, especially as it relates to Alzheimer’s Disease, is helpful.
2. Talk about it together. The first step is to acknowledge your concerns. This is easier said than done when confronting a loved one about his or her mental health. Talk with other family members and decide who should begin the conversation. Often, it is best to raise such concerns in a face-to-face talk and to include several family members when raising the issue. Be sure to act with compassion, understanding and support.
3. Reach out for help. Another critical first step is scheduling a doctor’s evaluation. Next reach out to the many support organizations, Alzheimer’s Disease, and memory loss assistance programs, and caring professionals. These groups and professionals can help with daily challenges, getting to medical appointments, and important legal and financial planning items. In addition, law firms like ours can help you plan for the future to determine what type of long-term care may be needed in the future and how you may be able to afford it.
We know how difficult this conversation can be and want to help. Please contact our office today to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.