Diagnosis: support and planning
Check with your local Alzheimer's Association chapter for group options in your area.
If You Have Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer's
You may consider joining an early-stage Alzheimer’s support group. In a support group, you can share your feelings and concerns with other people in similar situations. Local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers often sponsor such groups.
If Someone You Love Has Been Diagnosed
Support groups and other networks are also available for caregivers. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is difficult, and it can present emotional stress, along with financial, employment and even physical challenges. It’s important that caregivers take time for themselves to stay as healthy as possible.
Planning for the Future
Visit the Alzheimer's Association for up-to-date resources about medical care, finances, legal questions, and more.
Visit this site's Coping: Planning Ahead section for more detailed planning resources.
Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, you’ll want to start thinking about several important areas, including medical care, finances and legal matters.
Talk to your family about your current situation, and ask yourself these questions: Are you still able to live independently at home? Who can check on you to make sure everything is going well? What kind of care options do you want in the future? What is important to you now? What do you know will be important to you in the future?
For a list of questions to ask your doctor about treatments, visit Planning Ahead.
Taking the time to address tough questions as soon as possible can give you the opportunity to prepare important legal documents. You may want to work with a lawyer or learn more about elder law attorneys. Legal documents include a living will—which outlines your preferences for your medical care—and a durable power of attorney for health—which designates a specific agent who will make decisions about your care.
Getting Paperwork in OrderFor a list of legal and financial documents to locate, visit Planning Ahead.
Assess your finances. Locate important documents. Outline your sources of income, possible government assistance and potential expenses for your care. Financial decisions for the care of someone with Alzheimer’s are important to address early. You will want input on where future care will take place, such as an assisted-living facility, nursing home or in a family home. Adult day care and personal care attendants are also options. You will want to formalize financial agreements as much as possible, and as early as possible.
Get your house in order
If diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, take the opportunity to get both your health and— quite literally—your house in order. Focus on what you will need. If possible, simplify your home’s layout. You may choose to shed possessions. You can prepare now by writing down the basic information that you need for everyday activities. This will help when you have difficulty remembering what tasks you need to complete.