If your senior loved one is acting out of character or showing signs of memory loss, you might really start to wonder if they are developing Alzheimer’s or any other problem like dementia. It’s scary to think about mom or dad losing their memory, but it’s important to face these fears head-on and have them get a thorough exam and diagnosis from a doctor who specializes in memory disorders. Getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis as early as possible gives the whole family time to evaluate treatment options, plan for the future, and find the right resources.
In this article, our memory care specialists in Gloucester County will go over in more detail why early diagnosis is key to an effective Alzheimer’s care plan.
An early Alzheimer’s diagnosis means you can begin treatment immediately to minimize severe symptoms. Mom or dad should go to a medical professional for diagnosis as soon as you suspect something is off with their memory, especially because signs of cognitive impairments don’t always mean that your loved one has an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In seniors, there are many easily treatable health conditions like urinary tract infections, hospital-induced delirium, and side effects from medications that could make it seem like they have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. WIt’s important to get the right diagnosis and never assume one way or the other.
After seeing the doctor, if your loved one does receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis they can make changes now to help reduce the onset of severe Alzheimer’s behaviors later. Taking certain medications like Donepezil (Aricept) and making lifestyle changes like engaging in more cognitive activities now can even help delay severe symptoms for longer.
An early Alzheimer’s diagnosis means your loved one will have more time to enjoy the present and plan for the future. Before their memory becomes too impaired, they can make more sound decisions regarding how they’d like to spend their time right now and provide direction on how they would like to be cared for in the future. If dad has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, plan that trip now. If mom has always dreamed about having a photoshoot by the beach with all her kids and grandkids, find a great photographer and make it happen. Even if their memories fade, these will be memories your family can hang onto and cherish while navigating this new diagnosis.
On another note, having an early diagnosis can also give your loved one ample time to designate a Power of Attorney, make decisions about their care and finances to carry out when they become too impaired, and ensure any end-of-life wishes are carried out through a legal Will. This won’t be easy to come to terms with, but if your loved one takes control now and binds everything legally, there will be one less thing for your family to worry about when their time comes.
Alzheimer’s support for seniors in Gloucester County
Tapping into the right resource is also a key advantage to an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It’s not easy to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s without any support. This becomes even more true if your loved one’s condition worsens and their aggressive behaviors are beyond what you are capable of handling by yourself. It takes an experienced team to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and sometimes the best care plan involves a move to a memory care neighborhood.
At UMC at Pitman, our Tapestries® memory care neighborhood has welcoming, dementia-safe apartments where seniors are encouraged to enjoy their hobbies, relieve stress, and have meaningful experiences with our associates and other memory care residents. Security personnel, as well as Life Enrichment Team Specialists, are on site 24/7 to ensure your loved one with Alzheimer’s is fully secure at all times.
If your senior parent is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s or other dementias and you need extra help to care for them, please call 856-369-3092 to find out whether moving to a senior community with professional memory care is the right option for mom or dad. To learn more about Alzheimer’s care in Gloucester County, please contact United Methodist Communities at Pitman or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/pitman/
Original blog posted on https://umcommunities.org/pitman/blog/why-early-diagnosis-is-key-to-alzheimers-care-plan/