An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can completely flip your world upside down, and in the midst of trying to wrap your mind around it, you’ve got to somehow figure out what in the world you are supposed to do next. The suggestions below will be a great starting point for not only the newly diagnosed, but caregivers as well.
If you’ve just been diagnosed…
- Educate yourself and others about the disease.
- Build your support network by informing family members and friends, and locate an Alzheimer’s Association network near you
- Set up routine medical examinations with your primary care doctor and ask for specialist referrals if desired
- Make a concrete plan for future health events, including your Alzheimer’s progression, and update your life plan (will, living will, healthcare/financial power of attorney, etc.)
- Plan for long-term care, as well as how to pay for it
- Continue doing the things you enjoy.
If you’re the caregiver…
- Understand what to expect as the disease progresses.
- Have “the talk” with your loved one about end-of-life care.
- Meet with an elder care attorney to become the point of contact for your loved one both financially and legally.
- Organize (and make copies of) important documents.
- Consider care options should you become unable to continue your caregiving role.
- Sit down with your loved one and capture memories by labeling/archiving photos, creating a scrapbook, making a video, or recording oral history.