What to do when your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Younger woman kindly holding an older woman's hands.

No one wants to hear a loved one has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementia.

But if it happens, caregivers and family members can take steps to help manage negative feelings they may be experiencing.

The most effective caregiver is well informed, prepared and asks for help and support from available resources.

Here are four important steps you can take after an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

1. Educate yourself

Learn as much as you can about the disease so you will know how to help.

Learn about the progression, symptoms and stages of the disease process and behaviors common in each stage.

Ask your doctor for this information, and visit the Alzheimer's Association website for more resources.

2. Seek support

Consider attending a local support group or participating in an online support group.

In addition to being able to share your feelings and concerns with others who are in similar situations, these groups often provide helpful ideas and resources that have been used by others caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

3. Take time for yourself

You will most likely observe and experience changes in your loved one’s personality.

These changes can affect your relationship with him or her as well as with other family members and friends.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s requires both physical and emotional stamina.

To be a caregiver to another person, you must take care of yourself.

Read articles about being a caregiver

4. Plan for the future

Prepare financial and legal documents, and investigate long-term care options including adult day services and respite services.

Read about creating an advance directive

Whether it's providing supportive services, or simply a listening ear, we're here for you.


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