A large number of people in the United States decide to forfeit a diagnosis for early onset Alzheimer’s disease because there is no known cure. However, an early diagnosis is vital to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It is for this reason that the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America initiated the “National Memory Screening Program.” Though an ongoing program, initially it was highlighted on a specific day in November each year.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America chose November because it’s National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Recently, this event has grown into a weeklong promotion to bring awareness to the importance of memory screenings. The goal of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is to provide “optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia and to their caregivers and families.” Screenings can lead to an earlier diagnosis which can lead to a better treatment plan. To help you care for a family member with dementia, we have created a list of the 7 benefits of receiving an early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis from a primary doctor or Neurologist.
Advantages of Detecting Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
1.) Confirm the Source of Memory Issues
If your family member is having intellectual issues, you may decide to make the assumption that he or she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are a variety of medical issues that share similar symptoms to dementia that are curable. Types of medical problems that share similar manifestations to Alzhimer’s disease include hydrocephalus, urinary tract infections, and delirium.
To confirm the source of your family member’s short-term memory issues, visit your primary doctor or a certified Neurologist. Prior to creating an early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis, a doctor will review your loved one’s medical archives, symptoms, and medication history.
2.) Use Treatments to Postpone Symptoms
If a doctor discovers you have early onset Alzheimer’s, you can begin treatment immediately to help postpone the symptoms and physical conditions. There are a large number of researchers and studies available to individuals with an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. These clinical investigations are continuously looking for individuals to test new treatments and medications before they hit the market. Receiving an early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease will give your family member more time to participate in new clinical trials that are designed to treat dementia.
3.) Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s With Medications & Treatments
Although medications can be utilized to treat an individual with a late stage of Alzheimer’s, most types of treatments that have been approved by the FDA are more effective with individuals that have been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s. These medications are not designed to reverse or eliminate the symptoms of this type of dementia. Instead, medical professionals utilize medications to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
4.) Strategize Health Care Options
Detecting Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia early will give the family time to strategize treatment options and financial assets. An early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis will give your mom or dad time to form a health care solution and write their living will. Use this time to choose a financial planner or attorney to help implement a spending plan.
5.) Helps Caregivers Gain Patience
It is not uncommon to feel guilt or annoyance when dealing with your mom, dad, or grandparent with an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. If you have been short-tempered with a family member recently, an excellent way to alleviate your remorse is to apologize. This will give you an opportunity to be patient and supportive of your family member throughout the diagnosis and treatment phases. An early diagnosis will also give you time to gain an understanding of how to care for your mother or father as the disease progresses.
6.) Lifestyle Changes
Medication is not the only method that can be used to postpone the symptoms of early onset Alzheimers. An excellent way to help maintain your mental and physical health is to create a workout routine. You should also consider signing your family member up for art, dancing, or acting lessons. An early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis gives you an opportunity to introduce mentally stimulating hobbies earlier on to your mom, dad, or relative with dementia.
7.) Form a Safety Plan
Once a caregiver receives an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis for a family member, it’s time to consider enhancing the safety of the home. First, create a list of emergency contacts for your parent or relative that can be easily reached. Remove wires and extension cords from your loved one’s household to prevent injuries.
If a caregiver does not live with a family member, he or she should remove candles from the home to prevent fires. If you need help caring for a relative with early onset Alzheimer’s or dementia, give our team a call by phone at (630) 534-0886. The staff at Terra Vista specializes in caring for individuals with memory loss. We are an Alzheimer’s and dementia care community in Oakbrook Terrace that is dedicated to enhancing the life of your family member living with dementia.