Coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis

POSTED: 08/5/11 1:07 PM

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is an enormous adjustment for both you and your loved ones. For many, the secrets to navigating this journey are learning, supporting, and loving. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are treatments available for the symptoms. These treatments cannot prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing but if symptoms are diagnosed early enough, they can be effective in delaying the onset of more debilitating symptoms. Early diagnosis can prolong independence and is the first step towards treatment, management, and living life fully.
To find support after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for patients and loved ones, contact The St. Maarten Alzheimer’s Foundation on Hotline 9220 or alzheimersxm@gmail.com. For a list of global Alzheimer’s associations see: Alzheimer’s Disease International
You may not know what to think if you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. You may be furious that you have to deal with this, scared about what the future will bring, uncertain about how your memory will change- or all of these emotions at once. These feelings are all normal.
Give yourself some time to adjust. As with any major change in life, don’t expect that you will smoothly snap into this new transition. You may feel alright for a while, and then suddenly feel stressed and overwhelmed again. Take time to adjust to this new transition.
Reach out for support. Living with Alzheimer’s is not easy, but there is help in this journey. The more you reach out to others and get support, the more you will be able to cope with Alzheimer’s symptoms while continuing to enrich and find meaning in your life.
Make your wishes known. While it’s not easy to think about, getting your finances in order and figuring out how you want your healthcare handled gives you power over your future. Talk with your family and loved ones and let them know what is important to you. Who do you trust to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so?
If a family member or loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you will also be dealing with a host of emotions. You may be grieving for your loved one, especially if significant memory loss is already present. You may feel like you no longer know this person, as new behaviors and moods develop that are unlike the person you remember. You may start to become overwhelmed with the needs of your loved one, or even resentful that other family members won’t help enough.
Learn as much as you can. Understanding what to expect will help you plan for care and transitions. Knowledge will help you both honor a loved one’s strengths and capabilities throughout each stage, and make sure you have the strength and resources to carry on.
Don’t take on the caregiving journey alone. No matter how dedicated you are, at some point you will need some help in caregiving. No one can be awake and alert 24 hours a day. You have your own health and other obligations to consider. Having support in caregiving is key, whether it be from other family, in-home help, respite care, or making the decision to move your loved one to an assisted living or nursing home.
The information in this article was found on www.helpguide.com
In our following publication we will provide a “memory checklist”
To support the campaign please contact any member of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, email to rotaryalzheimerscampaignsxm@gmail.com or The St. Maarten Alzheimer’s Foundation.

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