The Benefits of Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

The Benefits of Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Most of us pay attention to the weather because it affects our lives. If a storm is forecast for Sunday, you are not likely to plan a picnic. This advance notice, an early diagnosis of the weather, allows you and your loved ones to plan something else.

Much like the weather, an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease allows families the best means of weathering a condition that knows no cure. Today we know a great deal about Alzheimer’s and what we can do to treat its symptoms. Much of what we can do may have its greatest impact if those interventions are initiated early. While such a diagnosis is never positive news, it does help families shape a better future together.

The importance of an early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s had not previously been apparent. Just a few years ago we didn’t think an early diagnosis mattered. We knew there was no cure for Alzheimer’s and thought there were few options available. Health care professional now realize that families benefit in four primary areas from an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis:

* Medications – Alzheimer’s care providers can target specific medications more effectively early in the disease process. In addition, some medications appear to have different actions early in the process and seem to be more effective.
* Adjustments – A disease as significant as Alzheimer’s affects every generation within a family and it requires significant adjustments. An early diagnosis allows families to begin receiving counseling early in the process. They and the loved one with Alzheimer’s are better able to assimilate information and make decisions.
* Planning – An early diagnosis helps individuals with Alzheimer’s better prepare, plan, make decisions, and execute documents while they are still capable of doing so. An early diagnosis helps them assess their status and helps them accept their declining abilities in as positive a way as possible. It is never easy, but they feel more in control.
* Participating in Research – Families often value participating in biomedical research for two reasons: for the hope of finding a cure; and, for contributing to someone else’s future quality of life. We hear this frequently. Families are eager to derive something positive from a difficult circumstance. An early diagnosis may allow them the chance to participate in and contribute to Alzheimer’s research.

The evolution of care for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia has grown. Support groups and your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter can be of great assistance. Your efforts to learn more about the disease will benefit all involved.

For more information, please contact your local Alzheimer’s Association.

Provided by: Encore Senior Village
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