27 Aug Your Loved One Has Just Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease: Now What?
Many patients and caregivers do not know how to start preparing for the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Confusion, sadness, and a feeling of hopelessness are common after diagnosis. However, if the patient and caregiver use self-management techniques, then these feelings can be significantly decreased, and the patient’s and caregiver’s quality of life can increase. Self-management is the patient’s and the caregiver’s combined efforts to take control of treatment and how they will handle their condition. Consider the following suggestions when planning on how to deal with Alzheimer’s disease.
First, learn everything you can about the disease. Caregivers should learn how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Your loved one is going to be very confused and uncertain after their diagnosis. It is important that you, as the caregiver, be knowledgeable enough to offer the right kind of support for your loved one. Use books, workshops, and other resources to learn all you can. Join a support group. Studies indicate that support groups can decrease the intensity and frequency of depression for both patient and caregiver.
Get your loved one’s financial and legal affairs in order.
Your loved one may not be able to tell you their wishes for medical care, end of life care, burial needs, or financial affairs as the disease progresses. Therefore, it is very important to address all of these concerns at the outset. This will be a very difficult discussion, but stress to your loved one that you want to provide their desired care even when they cannot express it.
Develop a plan for caring for and monitoring your loved one.
You will soon have to devote a significant amount of time to care of your loved one. How will you handle this? Talk to your loved one about what they want while they can still communicate their wishes for overall care. Making sure that your loved one still has a voice in their care, even as the disease progresses, will decrease depression and increase their quality of life.
Also, try to anticipate your needs as your time and resources increasingly become wrapped up in your loved one’s care. Enlist others (family members, friends, elder care specialists) and create a support team so that you are not shouldering the burden alone. Don’t forget to plan for your own social needs, as well.
Contact us for further information, or to make an appointment, by calling 561-694-1010.
- Leung, M. Orrell, & V. Orgeta (2014). Social Support Group Interventions in People with Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review of the Literature, Int. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry. 30(1). Doi. 10.1002/gps/4166
-support for social groups – reducing depression and improving quality of life
- Martin, et al. (2013). Conceptualisation of self-management intervention for people with early stage dementia. European Journal of Aging. 10(2) 75-87.
Presentation from E. Wiersma, K. Le Clair, and M. Conway(2012). Self Management Café Scientifique, Apr. 19, 2012
Laakkonen, et al. (2012). Psychossocial group intervention to enhance self-management skills of people with dementia and their caregivers: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 13:133.
Buettener, L. & Fitzsimmons, S. (2009). Promoting health in Alzheimer’s disease: evaluation of a 12-week college course for individuals with new diagnosis. Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 35(3): 39-49.