Tips to Help Loved Ones Face an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Tips to Help Loved Ones Face an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that nearly 5.8 million people in the United States have the condition. Most people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are 65 or older, but the disease is found across all age groups, including 200,000 with an early-onset diagnosis. The adage that "there’s safety in numbers" doesn’t apply to Alzheimer’s dementia. No one finds comfort in hearing that a family member, friend, or co-worker has received a diagnosis of this mind-altering and life-changing disease. It is a miserable invitation into a fraternity to which no one wishes to belong. However, protesting the diagnosis and pretending that it’s a bad dream is a grave mistake with devastating results. Ignoring a dementia diagnosis only adds fuel to an explosive disease that claims everything in its path. The only way to gain a modicum of control is to face it head-on. My caregiver experience has helped me to understand that at times, it may be too much to expect that the person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease will step up to the challenge. In my mother's case, it was a difficult diagnosis and it was easier for her to cope by denying that she had the condition. The best-case scenario for some caregivers, as with my mother, is that their loved one helps them to face the diagnosis. Following through on the diagnosis must be a priority, but moving forward can be crippling, as the future and what seems to loom on the horizon rushes toward the person diagnosed. A family member or friend can help their lov
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