Navigating Alzheimer’s with Loved Ones and Medical Support

Nov 30, 2022


About 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, which affects memory and brain function, and experts expect that number to nearly triple by 2060. 

Receiving a diagnosis — for yourself or a loved one — can feel scary and overwhelming. But Adventist Health providers want you to know that you’re not alone. Follow these four steps to prioritize your health and move forward with support. 

Further Reading: Helping Children Understand Alzheimer’s Disease 

1. Assemble your team 

Your family, friends and healthcare providers are your biggest supporters. Build a care team to assist you through this tough time. Friends and family can help you with day-to-day tasks and long-term decisions. Your healthcare team may include your primary care physician, neurologist, occupational therapist and case manager to help you navigate this disease. 

2. Take care of yourself 

Grief is normal after such a life-altering diagnosis. But as you seek Alzheimer’s treatment, don’t neglect your mental health. Give yourself time to acknowledge your real, valid emotions. Chat with your doctor, friends and clergy about how you feel and ways to cope. Look into an early-stage Alzheimer’s support group to connect with others who have been diagnosed recently. 

3. Plan for the future 

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to live in the moment. But this is also a good time to plan ahead. Organize your important financial and legal documents, such as your bank account information, power of attorney and living will. This inventory will help you and your team choose the best care option for you in the future. 

4. Ask questions 

Your provider can guide you and help you plan. Here are some things you might want to ask: 

How did you come to this diagnosis? 

What stage of Alzheimer’s am I in now? 

How might it progress? 

What symptoms can I expect? 

What treatment options are available? 

Do I qualify for any clinical trials? 

Is it safe for me to work, drive, live on my own, etc.?