An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can change your loved one’s life. As time goes on, they will need a supportive community around them as they require more care. What can you do after your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s takes years to progress, with some people living as long as 20 years with this condition. Your parent may have already had this disease for a while before their formal diagnosis. After their diagnosis, what do you do?
What to Do When Your Parent Receives an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is life-changing, and you may not know what to do. You want to be there for your loved one, but you’re going through your own thoughts and feelings. However, there are many things you can do to help you and your loved one after their diagnosis.
Processing your emotions, prioritizing your loved one’s health, and planning for the future are things you can focus on.
Breathe & Process Emotions
After the diagnosis, you and your loved one may process several complex or intense emotions. Your loved one may feel numb or angry, and you may feel denial or fear about the future, but all these feelings are valid. What’s important is that you don’t bottle these feelings up or ignore them.
Some common emotions your or your parent may experience include:
- Anger: Anger can be a normal response to the diagnosis, feeling a loss of control due to this disease.
- Relief: You & your loved one may have anticipated something was wrong & the diagnosis validated those concerns.
- Denial: The diagnosis may seem impossible to accept.
- Depression: Sadness may overwhelm you or your loved one.
- Fear: You & your loved one may fear the future & how this disease will affect them.
- Isolation: Your loved one may feel like others don’t understand or know what they’re going through, making them want to retreat from their relationships.
- Resentment: Your loved one may feel resentful about life, wondering why they received this diagnosis.
- Sense of loss: You or your loved one may struggle to accept this diagnosis & the future changes they will experience.
You and your loved one can process these emotions in several ways.
Speaking with friends, family, or other people close to you may help, and surrounding yourself with a support system can be beneficial. Writing down your thoughts and feelings, joining an early support group, or speaking with your doctor or a therapist can help you and your loved one come to terms with their condition.
Help Them Prioritize Their Health
You can help your loved one prioritize their health in several ways.
You can start by scheduling regular appointments with your doctor or specialist. They can track changes to your loved one’s health and recommend additional treatments to help manage symptoms in the early stages. Additionally, you can look into visiting a memory disorder clinic with a referral from your primary doctor.
Healthy living can help your loved one feel better while keeping them in good shape. Regular physical exercise is vital as people age. Help them eat a healthy and balanced diet to benefit their body and brain.
Provide Help When Needed
Your loved one may still be living independently at the time of their diagnosis, so they may require some help with daily tasks as their condition progresses.
You can help them with daily reminders by using sticky notes or a notepad for appointments, medications, or other important events. You and others can help with routine activities like cooking, bills, or shopping. Additionally, you can use alarms to help manage your loved one’s medication and other care.
Plan for Worsened Symptoms
Alzheimer’s can take several years to progress to the later stages, but you should still plan for your loved one to experience these symptoms. Your loved one’s dementia will be more noticeable in later stages, and they may have trouble with day-to-day tasks.
Your loved one may:
- Be forgetful about events or their personal history
- Feel moody or withdrawn
- Struggle to recall information about themselves
- Feel confused about where they are
- Have difficulty choosing appropriate clothing
- Struggle with bladder or bowel control
- Wander or frequently get lost
- Experience personality or behavioral changes
Look at Long-Term Care Planning
Your loved one may struggle to live independently in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, and their necessary care may exceed your ability to support them. If your loved one needs consistent support, memory care may be right for them.
Memory care provides 24/7 support for your loved one while allowing them to live as independently as possible. They live daily life, tackling everyday tasks as they wish with the knowledge someone is always available to help them. Your loved one receives a customized care plan based on their unique needs.
Besides daily care, this lifestyle offers several services and amenities, providing your loved one opportunities to spend time with others, try new things, and stay active.
Memory Care Is Here for Your Loved One
Memory care can help your loved one receive the daily support they need as Alzheimer’s progresses. You don’t need to make any final decision right away, but you can always contact your local community or visit them for a tour.
Contact your local memory care community if you’re interested in this lifestyle for your loved one.