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After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis, What Comes Next?

- Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNMake sure the information you are getting is accurate as there are many misconceptions about the disease. The caregiver and the person who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease should keep informed so they know what to expect as the disease progresses.

Contact area organizations, like Alzheimer's Services, for programs and support services. Attend educational sessions offered by agencies and health care providers on particular topics about the disease.

Another good idea is to seek out other families and caregivers who have been through the journey or who are presently experiencing the effects of the disease so you can get support and also learn more about the disease. Consider enrolling in clinical trials, such as the various ones being conducted at area hospitals.

Making decisions on long-term care can be a sensitive subject, but it is important to have these conversations with the person who has been diagnosed. Additionally, that person should complete advance directives and legal documents, such as wills and trusts, early in the disease so they have the cognition to offer input.

Keep everyday routines in place as this gives someone with the disease a sense of normalcy in a chaotic internal world he or she is living through the disease. It is helpful to keep clocks and calendars around the house in the beginning of the disease to orient the person with Alzheimer's.

Another thing to consider is home safety. Keep sharp objects, toxic cleaners and solutions as well as medications in locked cabinets or out of reach. If wandering becomes an issue, make sure doors are secured.

Don't ignore good nutrition. A low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids helps protect brain cells. And, along with a good diet, a daily exercise regimen is recommended for both the caregiver and the affected person.

Finally, socialization is a key component in sustaining a quality of life and a sense of well-being. Find ways of mingling with others. Attend social events as much as possible. Invite friends and family members to visit. Socialization, especially for the person with Alzheimer's, is crucial in avoiding total isolation, which can speed the progression of the disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care, contact Spring Arbor.